Using a scale to explore pre-service physical education teachers' attitudes towards difference: Methodological opportunities and tensions
Researching Difference In Sport And Physical Activity
Taylor & Francis
School of Education
This chapter is a reflective account of the development, validation and application of a group of quantitative scales used to research pre-service physical education (PE) teachers’ attitudes towards otherness and difference. According to DeVellis (2012), scales ‘are collections of items combined into a composite score and intended to reveal levels of theoretical variables not readily observable by direct means...’ (p. 11). There are many highly practical texts and papers on survey and scale design (for example: Brown, 1983; Dawis, 1987; DeVellis, 2012; Fink, 2009; Fowler, 1995; Gable and Wolf, 2012; Kline, 2013). Rather than rewrite what is already well written in relation to survey or scale development, we have elected to articulate principles of design and describe how we dealt with these in relation to our case study involving researching difference. The use of quantitative surveys (more specifically in our case scales) to measure attitudes is fairly commonplace within wider education (Brown, 2004), social work (Carrillo et al., 1993) and medical fields (Hughes and Hood, 2007), with existing findings illustrating the value of quantitative measures for providing insights into attitudes, and the value of the data for guiding reflection and education regarding difference and diversity. Such methods, however, have not been prevalent within PE research. The research itself involved the development of a series of attitudinal scales to generate quantitative data relating to perceptions of difference along intersectional axes including gender, sexuality, ability, ethnicity and body shape.