Explaining Research Utilization Among 4-H Faculty, Staff, and Volunteers: The Role of Self-Efficacy, Learning Goal Orientation, Training, and Previous Experience

Julianne Tillman, Lynette H. Bikos

Abstract


An investigation of factors that facilitate the utilization of research evidence among faculty, staff, and volunteers in the 4-H Youth Development Program is presented in this paper. Participants (N= 368; 86 4-H faculty, 153 staff, and 129 volunteers) represented 35 states; structural equation modeling was utilized in the analyses. Results of the path analysis explained 56% of variance in research utilization and 28% in research utilization self-efficacy. Among the factors impacting research utilization, self-efficacy played the most important role. In turn, self-efficacy for research utilization was positively influenced by participants’ learning goal orientation, frequency of 4-H training during the last 12 months, education in research-related areas, and investigative career interests. In addition, 4-H staff who were exposed to research at higher levels reported higher research utilization self-efficacy. The findings reinforce the importance of fostering research utilization self-efficacy among 4-H faculty, staff, and volunteers. Among the suggestions presented are regular 4-H training opportunities and on-going exposure to program evaluation and program improvement experiences.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5195/jyd.2014.65

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