A Mathematical Approach in Evaluating Biotechnology Attitude Scale: Rough Set Data Analysis

Article excerpt


Individuals' thoughts and attitudes towards biotechnology have been investigated in many countries. A Likerttype scale is the most commonly used scale to measure attitude. However, the weak side of a likert-type scale is that different responses may produce the same score. The Rough set method has been regarded to address this shortcoming. A likert-type attitude scale was evaluated using the rough set method. Randomly selected 60 participants were given a biotechnology attitude scale and their responses to the scale items were examined using the method mentioned above. Participants belonging to a specific group were examined if they might also belong to another group in light of this method. Mathematical values of each sub-dimension and the extent to which a specific group accounts for the total variance in the overall dimension were calculated. Finally, the accuarcy of approximation for the high, moderate, low and very low sets are calculated as α^sub R^(Y)=1, α^sub R^(O)=0,8, α^sub R^(D)=0,778, α^sub R^(ÇD)=1 It means that the moderate and low sets are rough sets. Through reduction of attributes, "Public awareness of GMO, Ethics of genetic modifications, Ecological impact of genetic engineering and Use of genetic engineering in human medicine" sub-dimensions were found to be the indispensable sub-dimensions.

Key Words

Rough Sets, Attitude Scales, Biotechnology, Data Analysis.

(ProQuest: ... denotes formulae omitted.)

Attitude, which is attributed to a certain individual, can be defined as emotional, behavioral tendency that a individual reacts to an abstract or concrete object (Baron & Byrne, 1977). As can be understood from this definition, attitude is a tendency rather than a behavior itself (Bogardus, 1947; Caine & Caine, 1994; Lackney, 1998). Attitude is a preparation situation when facing various stimuli. In other words, it is a response tendency. An individual do not realize his/her attitudes towards a particular object until he/she must respond to it.

As reported by Allport [1956] the first study on attitude was carried out by Thurstone [1929] and subsequent research followed. The assessment of attitude has always been important, because knowledge of attitude allows one to predict and control behaviour (Eren, 2001; Krech & Cructhfield, 1980). However, as attitudes do not have a physical dimension, it is very difficult to scale them. Therefore, attitudes cannot be directly assessed. Information on individual thoughts, emotions, and reaction tendencies are gathered instead (Thurstone, 1967).

Observation, list of questions, completion of incomplete sentences, narrations, method of wrong selection, and content analysis are some of the methods used in measuring attitudes (Anderson, 1988; Arul, 2002). The most commonly used method among these methods is the implementation of attitude scales (Tavsancil, 2006). The attitude scale developed by Renis Likert (1932) is the most commonly used attitude scale. The ease of the implementation of this scale is what makes it popular.

The weak side of a likert-type scale is that different responses may produce the same total score (Tavsancil, 2006). Take a likert-type scale which has a number of sub-dimensions as an example.

Some of the sub-dimension scores may be low; some of them may be high. Two students having the same total score may have different sub-dimension scores. The rough set method developed by Pawlak (1982) may provide an alternative way to examine attitude scales in this way.

Vague concepts which we may also call uncertain knowledge, have occupied human mind for centuries. According to Frege (1904), uncertain concepts are those that are related to boundary-line view. That is, an uncertain concept is the one that has some objects not only outside or inside of it but also on its boundary. Philosophers, psychologists, current computing engineers, and mathematicians have shown interest in this topic. …


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