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The Validation of the Citizen Science Self-Efficacy Scale (CSSES)


"Citizen science programs provide opportunities for students to help professional scientists while fostering science achievement and motivation. Instruments which measure the effects of this type of programs on student motivational beliefs are limited. The purpose of this study was to describe the process of examining the reliability and validity of The Citizen Science Self-Efficacy Scale (CSSES) designed to measure the effectiveness of citizen science programs on student self-efficacy for scientific observation skills. Fifteen (n =15) field experts and 248 (n = 248) eighth grade students participated in three studies. The results suggest that the psychometric properties of this scale are sufficient. Implications for the development and utility of self-efficacy scales in a variety of citizen science contexts are discussed. The aim of the present study is twofold: (a) to establish the psychometric properties of a scale developed to measure student self-efficacy beliefs for scientific observations in citizen science programs and (b) to describe the process in the validation of a self-efficacy scale to support researchers who want to create their own scales for similar citizen science programs. Three studies were conducted to develop the Citizen Science Scale (CSSES) and evaluate its psychometric properties. The purpose of the CSSES was to develop a measure suitable for analysis within a social cognitive career framework and informal natural science contexts. The findings in the present study found that the measure had an acceptable unitary factorial structure and high internal reliability of .89 for the CSSES. The purpose of the Citizen Science Self-Efficacy Scale (CSSES) is to assess individual's beliefs about their capabilities for scientific observational skills. This scale is applicable to measuring individual's self-efficacy in outdoor learning contexts (e.g., horseshoe crab citizen science context). Given that self-efficacy is a strong predictor of academic achievement and motivation, self-efficacy scales like the CSSES may provide a way for stakeholders involved in outdoor education to measure student gains and to substantiate program effectiveness. From a methods standpoint, the contribution of this work is to serve as a guide of how to develop a self-efficacy scale."