Attitudes towards science: The design, construction, validation and use of an attitude scale.

  • Cyril Selmes

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


The main purpose of the research was the production of an attitude scale which would yield a measure of an attitude towards science. It was also intended to use the scale to compare the attitudes of sixth-formers who had followed Nuffield courses with those who had not. A list of statements, which referred to science, scientific method and the work of scientists, formed a provisional questionnaire which was presented to two groups of sixth-formers and to two groups of postgraduate education students. This questionnaire was scored by the Likert method and high-scoring and low-scoring groups were chosen from both the sixth-form and the postgraduate samples. Item analysis was performed by t-testing the differences in mean scores of the high-scoring and low-scoring groups, and this led to the selection of 56 items to form a summated attitude scale composed of four parts. Scores on this attitude scale were used to compare science, mixed and arts students in the sixth-form sample: analysis of variance by the method of un-weighted means showed the presence of significant differences in mean scores. These results were confirmed by repeating the testing and analysis on a new sixth-form group, which was also used to obtain measures of validation, Comparison of mean scores between the various disciplines of the postgraduate students showed no significant differences: this was confirmed by testing another group of postgraduates. Reliability measures were obtained for all groups by using the split-half technique: the test-retest technique was used with the final group of postgraduates. Further validation studies were completed by comparing the mean scores of the postgraduate/scientists with those of research scientists and Fellows of the Royal Society. Comparison of the mean scores of Nuffield and non-Nuffield biology students (sixth-formers) showed no significant differences.
Date of Award1971
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath

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