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


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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