Master of Arts in Higher Education Theses

Date of Award

2009

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Michael D. Guebert

Second Advisor

Skip Trudeau

Third Advisor

Randall Dodge

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to empirically test whether service learning pedagogy utilized in a general education science course is able to promote locus of control (LOC) for responsible environmental behavior (REB) and intent to act (ITA) upon REB. To measure this, two instruments, the Environmental Action Internal Control Inventory, developed by Smith-Sebasto and Fortner (1994) to test for LOC for REB, and Hsu’s (1997) ITA construct, developed to test for ITA upon REB were administered to two sections of a general education science course for non-science majors utilizing a nonequivalent pretest posttest control group design. This study shows that after participating in a 6-week environmental service-learning project, in general, students with little or no college-level science background showed no significant change in their LOC for REB or ITA upon REB compared to students in a control group, which did not participate in service learning. However there was some positive change noted in students in the service-learning group who had low pretest ITA.

Limitations to the present study are considered with the intent to improve future studies relating to environmental service learning. In addition, implications for future research are discussed which include the need for further investigation of environmental service learning outcomes and the effects of service learning on different target groups.

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