Measuring Undergraduate Students’ Beliefs about and Career Interest in Bioproducts and Bioenergy

Shana L. McAlexander, Sean M. Noble, Katherine McCance, Margaret R. Blanchard, Richard A. Venditti


Two survey instruments measuring undergraduate students’ beliefs about bioproducts/bioenergy and related careers were developed and validated in this research study. The Beliefs about Bioproducts/Bioenergy (BABB) and Career Interest in Bioproducts/Bioenergy (CIBB) surveys were administered to undergraduate students enrolled in courses in a natural resources college. BABB (N = 168) and CIBB (N = 203) survey results were analyzed using exploratory factor analysis (EFA) and confirmatory factor analysis (CFA). Validity and reliability were demonstrated. The BABB has two related scales, Personal (P) and Societal (S), which can be used together or separately. ANOVA and t-test analyses determined that students with majors closely related to bioproducts/bioenergy held significantly more positive personal and societal beliefs about bioproducts/bioenergy, as well as related career interests. Differences were identified based on gender, but not by race/ethnicity. Measuring student beliefs about bioproducts/bioenergy and interest in related careers may help to gauge trends and changes in beliefs that influence environmentally-related choices and support efforts to prepare a diverse workforce for the bioeconomy. The authors recommend the use of these surveys to measure the impacts of academic and professional development experiences.


Undergraduate; Bioeconomy; Bioproducts; Careers; Diverse workforce

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