Many achievement and motivation theories claim that a specific set of beliefs, interests or values plays a central role in determining career choice and behavior. In order to investigate how attitudes determine behaviors, researchers generally investigate each attitude in isolation. This article argues that studying belief systems rather than single attitudes has several explanatory advantages. In particular, a system-level approach can provide clear definitions and measures of attitude importance. Using a nationally representative sample of 13,283 9th graders and measures of 136 STEM-related attitudes, I implement a belief network analysis to investigate which attitudes are most influential in determining STEM career choice. The results suggest that identity beliefs, educational expectations and ability-related beliefs play central roles in individuals’ belief systems.
Rafael Quintana, From single attitudes to belief systems: Examining the centrality of STEM attitudes using belief network analysis, International Journal of Educational Research, Volume 119, 2023, 102179, ISSN 0883-0355, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijer.2023.102179.