In Pursuit of Validity: A Comprehensive Review of Science Attitude Instruments 1935–2005
The purpose of this review is to present a comprehensive evaluation of science attitude instruments based on published psychometric evidence. A multitude of instruments have been used through the years and some have been linked to career choice and school performance. Substantiating such associations is of paramount importance if researchers wish to influence educational policy. However, associations are reduced, or hard to discover, if instruments have weak psychometric properties. Several databases were searched for peer reviewed articles that discussed the development and use of science attitude instruments. Instruments were grouped into the following categories: attitudes toward science, scientific attitudes, nature of science, scientific career interests, and other. A data abstraction and scoring rubric was used to summarize and evaluate 150 published articles that spanned 66 instruments. Most instruments had single study usage and showed an absence of psychometric evidence. This review demonstrated that there are few instruments available with the necessary psychometric data to merit recommendation. This review quantifies the current state of the research regarding the measurement of science attitude in students; the results should elicit further discussion and encourage more rigorous analyses of instruments. The findings may assist other researchers to select an instrument and alert them to its strengths and weaknesses. This review points the way forward for research in this field. Instruments already in existence should be used in repeat studies, and reliability and validity evidence should be collected and shared.