Several studies reveal a problematic prevalence of research misbehaviors. There are several potential causes of research misconduct but ensuring that scientists hold attitudes that reflect norms of acceptable behaviors is fundamental.
Our aim was to evaluate the psychometric properties (factor structure and reliability) of an “attitude” scale that we adopted from a questionnaire we previously used to investigate the prevalence of research misbehaviors in the Middle East.
This open access paper published in March 2022, reports on a research project that looked at the usefulness of attitudes towards questionable research practices. The results suggest useful scales that could be used to evaluate an institution’s professional development strategies relating to research integrity. This is a useful read for research office staff and Research Integrity Advisers.
We used data from participants (n = 254) who were involved in our prior questionnaire study to determine the validity of an attitude scale that we adapted from this previous study. We performed exploratory factor analysis (EFA) to determine the factor structure of the attitude scale followed by measures of convergent and concurrent validity. We assessed reliability by computing the Cronbach’s alphas of each construct of the attitude scale.
EFA indicated that the attitude scale consists of two factors (constructs). Convergent validity was demonstrated by significant correlations of item-item and item-total. Correlation analysis revealed that the attitude constructs were significantly correlated with the Research Misbehavior Severity Score, thereby demonstrating concurrent validity. Cronbach’s alphas were greater than 0.75 for both constructs.
We demonstrated a valid and reliable 20-item attitude scale with two factors related to “acceptability of practices in responsible conduct in research” and “general attitudes regarding scientific misconduct”. The use of a validated attitude scale can help assess the effectiveness of educational programs that focus on participants acquiring attitudes that are instrumental in responsible conduct in research.
Abd ElHafeez S, Salem M, Silverman HJ (2022) Reliability and validation of an attitude scale regarding responsible conduct in research. PLoS ONE 17(3): e0265392. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0265392
Publisher (Open Access): https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0265392