Optimizing the environmental attitudes inventory: establishing a baseline of change in students' attitudes

Sutton, Stephen G., and Gyuris, Emma (2015) Optimizing the environmental attitudes inventory: establishing a baseline of change in students' attitudes. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, 16 (1). pp. 16-33.

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Abstract

Purpose: The purpose of this study was twofold: first, to optimize the Environmental Attitudes Inventory (EAI) and second, to establish a baseline of the difference in environmental attitudes between first and final year students, taken at the start of a university's declaration of commitment to EfS.

Design/methodology/approach: The psychometrically designed EAI was used to overcome the problems and limitations of the much-used, but controversial, revised New Environmental Paradigm (NEP) Scale. The performance of the original 72-item EAI was compared with our 37-item reduced form using a population of first- and final-year university students.

Findings: The reduced 37-item EAI provides a reliable and valid tool for investigating structured, multi-dimensional environmental attitudes of university students while reducing response burden and increasing response and completion rates compared with the longer versions of the EAI.

Research limitations/implications: No attempt is made to link elements of the university experience with changes in attitude between first- and third-year students. The authors expect the 12-faceted EAI to provide more detailed feedback on the affective outcomes of EfS initiatives than currently used instruments.

Originality/value: This research contributes to establishing the EAI as a gold standard with which to monitor students' environmental attitudes. Although most studies aimed at understanding the impact of EfS measure attitude change over relatively short periods of time – typically using the brief NEP scale administered immediately before and after a specific semester course – the approach developed here is designed to detect attitudinal change that may be ascribed to the entire university experience between students’ first and final year.

Item ID: 28186
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1758-6739
Keywords: education for sustainability, Environmental Attitudes Inventory, students' attitudinal change, university experience, Australia
Date Deposited: 05 Nov 2014 04:20
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050203 Environmental Education and Extension @ 100%
SEO Codes: 93 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 9304 School/Institution > 930401 Management and Leadership of Schools/Institutions @ 50%
95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9599 Other Cultural Understanding > 959999 Cultural Understanding not elsewhere classified @ 50%
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