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Self-Efficacy in On/Offline Counseling Programs Essay

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Updated: Aug 20th, 2020

Research Question

The research question guiding the study is, “what are the differences in perceptions of self-efficacy among counseling students in online and land-based counseling graduate degree program?”

The operational definition of Self-Efficacy

Initially coined by Albert Bandura in 1977, the “self-efficacy” concept has maintained wide usage as one of the most influential psychological constructs perceived to affect achievement strivings in a whole range of areas, including student learning and achievement. The construct has been defined in the literature as “individuals’ beliefs that they possess the skills necessary to accomplish a goal” (Boswell, 2013, p. 90). When applied to the study’s research question, self-efficacy can be operationalized as confidence in the students’ ability to successfully execute counseling-related tasks based on their mode of study (either online or land-based), or the beliefs and judgments demonstrated by students about their capability to effectively counsel clients in the near future based on their mode of study.

Survey Instrument

Section A: Personal Information

  • Age of student (in completed years)…………………………….
  • Year of study
    • First year
    • Second-year
  • Mode of study
    • Online
    • Land-based
  • Racial background
    • Caucasian/White
    • African American/Black
    • Other

Section B: Perceptions of Self-Efficacy

Instructions: Please indicate by ticking in the correct box how confident you are in your ability to perform various counselor behaviors or to deal with specific issues in counseling (scale: 1= not confident at all; 10= completely confident).

  • How confident are you as a counseling student in employing the following general skills to most of your clients upon successful completion of your graduate program?
Perceptions of Self-Efficacy
  • How confident are you in effectively undertaking the following activities with most of your clients upon successful completion of your degree program (scale: 1= not confident at all; 10= completely confident).
Perceptions of Self-Efficacy
  • Using the following responses, please mark each statement on the spaces provided depending on how strongly you agree or disagree with the statement (responses: “1=strongly disagree; 2=disagree; 3=slightly disagree; 4=unable to judge; 5=slightly agree; 6=agree; 7=strongly agree”).
Statements Response Categories
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
(a) “I demonstrate an interest in client’s problems.”
(b) “I approach clients in a mechanical, perfunctory manner.”
(c) “I seek the professional opinion of other student counselors when the need arises
(d) “I am sensitive to the dynamics of self in counseling relationships.”
(e) “I cannot accept constructive criticisms”
(f) “I am genuinely relaxed and comfortable in counseling sessions”
  • Respond to the questions below by marking in the correct section based on what you have so far learnt in your degree program (responses: 1=Yes; 2=No; 3=I don’t know)
Statements Responses
1 2 3
(a) “My degree program has made me more aware of both content and feelings in counseling session”
(b) “My degree program has made me to develop the capacity to keep appointments”
(c) “My degree program has reduced my rigidity in counseling behavior”
(d) “My degree program has made me to develop the capacity to critique tapes and gain insights with minimum assistance from lecturers”
(e) “My degree program has developed my self-confidence in establishing counseling relationships”
  • Do you think your mode of study (either online or land-based) affects your personal development, professional growth, and future career aspirations?
    • Yes
    • No
    • I don’t know
  • If YES in question 9 above, briefly explain how ………………………………………..

Rationale for Items Selected

The items in the personal information section (question 1, 2, 3 and 4) are selected based on the fact that they can assist the researcher to know if there are other factors that influence students’ perceptions of self-efficacy apart from mode of study. Although the study is initially interested in investigating the differences in perceptions of self-efficacy among counseling students in online and land-based counseling graduate degree program, it is possible that the “age of student” , “year of study”, and “racial background” items serve as control or moderating variables and hence the need to include them.

The items designed using the Lickert-type scale (question 5, 6, and 7) are instrumental in identifying the differences in perceptions of self-efficacy among counseling students as they have being designed in a way that will bring into the limelight the various competences and confidence levels demonstrated by students. The Yes or No items in question 8 are also designed to indicate the various competence levels of students based on their mode of study. Lastly, the open-ended item (question 10) is designed to allow the researcher gain deeper insights or new knowledge on the differences in perceptions of self-efficacy among counseling students.

Method of Data Collection and Data Analysis

The survey instrument is a self-report measure and, as such, it will be administered to the students in order for them to give their own perceptions of self-efficacy before sending the questionnaire back to the researcher. In data analysis, an analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) will be computed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS version 18) to compare mean differences in perceptions of self-efficacy among counseling students by instructional method (online versus land-based) while controlling for students’ age and year of study in the graduate degree program.

Challenges of Constructing the Survey

Available literature demonstrates that, “for a survey to succeed, it must minimize two types of error: poor measurement of cases that are surveyed (errors of observation) and omission of cases that should be surveyed (errors of nonobservation)” (Check & Schutt, 2012, p. 161). Drawing from this exposition, one of the foremost challenges which may lead to errors of observation originates from the way questions or items are inscribed, the general distinctiveness of the participants who respond to the questions, as well as the way the questions or items are presented in the survey instrument.

For example, the researcher may get ineffective responses if he or she presents double-barreled questions or value-laden items. Omission of cases that should be surveyed can happen if the researcher fails to conduct an elaborate literature review on all variables of interest to the study (Check & Schutt, 2012).

Another challenge involves developing a survey instrument that not only measures what it is expected to measure (validity), but also generates the same findings in similar circumstances (Reliability) (Kimberlin & Winterstein, 2008).

Owing to the fact that the developed survey instrument is a self-report measure, for example, students may develop a natural predisposition to overestimate or overvalue their capabilities owing to the nonexistence of any particular skill demonstration on which to precisely review their own degree of competence and confidence (Watson, 2012). Ultimately, it is important to ensure validity and reliability of the survey instrument by, among other things, phrasing the questions appropriately, ensuring proper response categories, as well as facilitating internal consistency and stability of the questionnaire items.

References

Boswell, S.S. (2013). Change in undergraduates’ research self-efficacy: A pilot study. Online Journal of New Horizons in Education, 4(4), 89-96.

Check, J., & Schutt, R.K. (2012). Research methods in education. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.

Kimberlin, C.L., & Winterstein, A.G. (2008). Validity and reliability of measurement instruments used in research. American Journal of Health System Pharmacy, 65(4), 2276-2284.

Watson, J.C. (2012). Online learning and the development of counseling self-efficacy beliefs. Professional Counselor: Research and Practice, 2(2), 143-151.

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IvyPanda. "Self-Efficacy in On/Offline Counseling Programs." August 20, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/self-efficacy-in-onoffline-counseling-programs/.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Self-Efficacy in On/Offline Counseling Programs." August 20, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/self-efficacy-in-onoffline-counseling-programs/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'Self-Efficacy in On/Offline Counseling Programs'. 20 August.

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