Evaluation of the use of psychometric scales in human-wildlife interaction research to determine attitudes and tolerance towards wildlife

Whitehouse-Tedd, K. ORCID: 0000-0003-0061-489X, Abell, J. and Dunn, A. ORCID: 0000-0003-3226-1734, 2020. Evaluation of the use of psychometric scales in human-wildlife interaction research to determine attitudes and tolerance towards wildlife. Conservation Biology. ISSN 0888-8892 (Forthcoming)

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Studies evaluating human‐wildlife interactions (HWI) in a conservation context often include psychometric scales to measure attitudes and tolerance towards wildlife. However, data quality is at risk when such scales are used without appropriate validation or reliability testing, potentially leading to erroneous interpretation or application of findings. Two online databases (ProQuest Psych Info and Web of Science), were used to identify published HWI studies including attitude and tolerance which we subsequently analyzed to; (1) determine the methods used to measure attitudes or tolerance toward predators and other wildlife; (2) determine the proportion of these methods utilizing psychometric scales; and (3) evaluate the rigor with which the scales were used by examining whether the psychometric properties of validity and reliability were reported. For the decade spanning 2007–2017, 114 published studies were identified; 94 (82%) used questionnaires and many of these (53; 56%) utilized a psychometric scale. Most scales (39; 74%) had at least one test of reliability reported, but reliance on a single test was notable, contrary to recommended practice. A smaller majority (35; 66%) reported a test of validity but this was primarily restricted to structural validity rather than more comprehensive testing. Encouragingly, HWI‐investigators are increasingly utilizing the necessary psychometric tools for designing and analyzing questionnaire data, but the failure to assess the validity or reliability of psychometric scales used in over one third of published HWI attitude research warrants attention. Incorporation of more robust application of psychometric scales is advocated in order to advance understanding of stakeholder attitudes as they relate to HWI.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Conservation Biology
Creators: Whitehouse-Tedd, K., Abell, J. and Dunn, A.
Publisher: Wiley
Date: 21 July 2020
ISSN: 0888-8892
Rights: This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
Divisions: Schools > School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences
Schools > School of Social Sciences
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 14 Sep 2020 11:38
Last Modified: 14 Sep 2020 11:38
URI: http://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/40711

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