Exploring social work students’ attitudes toward research courses: predictors of interest in research-related courses among first year students enrolled in a bachelor’s programme in Switzerland
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Research courses have become a taken-for-granted component of social work study programmes. Nonetheless, studies still confirm that social work students are reluctant to engage with research courses. They report considerably negative beliefs and attitudes as well as higher levels of anxiety. The present study aims to assess the interest in research courses among students entering a BSW programme in Switzerland. Further, it aimed to establish the relationship between students’ interest in research courses, their research orientation, and research anxiety. From 2014 to 2016, 708 first-year students were surveyed using an online questionnaire. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics and structural equation modelling. Analysis showed that the interest in research courses was predicted by research anxiety (β = −.29) as well as by the perceived importance (β = .27), the attributed usefulness (β = .15) and the perceived unbiased nature of research (β = .08). These variables were predicted, in turn, by research anxiety (β = −.10, β = −.23, β = −.13). Moreover, interest was predicted by age (β = .13). Research anxiety was predicted by age (β = −.10), female gender (β = .28) and the type of baccalaureate allowing admission (β = −.09). This first study on entering BSW students in Switzerland confirms that research orientation and research anxiety should be considered and addressed by teachers when conceptualizing research courses.
Social Work Education. International Journal