Development of the Research Paradigm Inventory to Measure Views About Research Practices and Beliefs

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Virginia Tech

The purpose of this study was to develop an instrument to measure the views of educational researchers across the dimensions that comprise research paradigms. The development of the instrument, entitled the Research Paradigm Inventory (RPI), was conducted in the hope of providing a mechanism for future research that will enable the examination of prospective links between the ontological, epistemological and methodological orientations of researchers and graduate students who will serve as future inquirers in the field of education.

During its development and validation, various aspects of the RPI were examined in accordance with the validity framework outlined by Samuel Messick (1989). According to Messick (1989), the validity of measure interpretation and corresponding action can be examined in terms of content, substantive, structural, generalizability, external and consequential forms of evidence. During this study, the content aspect of validity was addressed through the creation of instrument specifications and the development of items that were mapped to those specifications. In addition, the content aspect of validity was addressed by selecting items that were reviewed by experts, pilot tested, field tested and exhibited high technical quality. The substantive aspect of validity was addressed through an analysis of item rating scale functioning, person fit, item difficulty hierarchies and relationships among instrument scale measures. The structural aspect of validity was addressed through a confirmation of the instrument's dimensionality. The generalizability aspect of validity was addressed through an analysis of person reliability, the precision of item/person parameter estimates and item calibration invariance.

The development activities and analyses described above resulted in the creation of six subscales measuring: (1) Realism in Research, (2) Research Objectivism, (3) Quantitative Methodology, (4) Relativism in Research, (5) Research Interpretivism and (6) Qualitative Methodology. Given the evidence collected, these scales appear to provide reasonably reliable and defensible estimates of individuals' attitudes toward various research practices and beliefs, and should be appropriate for future research studies exploring educational research paradigms.

Educational Research, Research Paradigms, Rasch Measurement