Doctoral Counselor Education Students' Levels of Research Self-Efficacy, Perceptions of the Research Training Environment, and Interest in Research

By Lambie, Glenn W.; Vaccaro, Nicole | Counselor Education and Supervision, June 2011 | Go to article overview

Doctoral Counselor Education Students' Levels of Research Self-Efficacy, Perceptions of the Research Training Environment, and Interest in Research


Lambie, Glenn W., Vaccaro, Nicole, Counselor Education and Supervision


Counselor educators are called to be effective researchers; however, limited study has investigated research constructs within counselor educators-in-training. This study investigated the levels of research self-efficacy (Greeley et al., 1989), perceptions of the research training environment (Gelso, Mallinckrodt, & Judge, 1996), and interest in research (Bishop & Bieschke, 1994) within a sample of counselor education doctoral students (N = 89). Doctoral students in their 3rd year of preparation had higher research self-efficacy scores than did 1st- and 2nd-year students. Additionally, higher research self-efficacy was associated with higher interest in research and scholarly publication experience. Implications for counselor education are discussed.

Counselor education doctoral preparation programs are designed to promote students' development of professional competencies in the areas of supervision, teaching, research and scholarship, counseling, and leadership and advocacy (Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs [CACREP], 2009). More specifically, counselor education doctoral students are expected to develop their knowledge and skills in research and scholarship, including the ability to develop sound empirical research and publish findings in refereed counseling journals (CACREP, 2009; Section IV, E and F) because the "dissemination of research findings and sharing clinical perspectives are foundational to counselor education and in enhancing the profession of counseling" (Lambie, Sias, Davis, Lawson, & Akos, 2008, p. 18). However, the counselor education literature has shown a paucity of studies investigating constructs relating to research (e.g., research self-efficacy, interest in research) in counselor education doctoral students (Briggs, 2006; Miller, 2006) and has been a growing area of concern (e.g., Eisenhart & DeHaan, 2005; Kline & Farrell, 2005; Okech, Astramovich, Johnson, Hoskins, & Rubel, 2006). Therefore, studies investigating constructs relating to the research development of counselor education doctoral students are both necessary and timely (Clawson, Henderson, Schweiger, & Collins, 2004; Jones, 2006; Miller, 2006).

The scientist-practitioner model is the traditional paradigm found in philosophy doctoral degree programs that seek to combine research and scientific inquiry with clinical work (Silvera, Laeng, & Dahl, 2003). Primary to the scientist-practitioner model is the belief that research is what aids the development of a profession (Belar, 2000). Research production and publications are important to the field of counseling because research supports and encourages the scientist-practitioner model and contributes to the body of literature on which counseling practitioners base their services (Belar, 2000; Kahn, 2001). The development of counselor educators' competencies in the areas of research and scholarship is essential to their future success in academic positions (McGrail, Rickard, & Jones, 2006). Gelso and Lent (2000) suggested that research training is critical because (a) it furthers the knowledge base in the counseling field, which ensures a foundation for future knowledge in the profession, and (b) it is the primary means for providing direction to clinicians with regard to therapeutic interventions. Belar (2000) indicated that training doctoral students to conduct and publish sound research assists students in developing and enhancing critical thinking skills, which positively influences their clinical judgment. Furthermore, encouraging doctoral students to contribute to the scholarly literature supports them in developing their line of research (Miller, 2006; Ramsey, Cavallaro, Kiselica, & Zila, 2002).

Research Self-Efficacy, Perceptions of the Research Training Environment, and Interest in Research

Scholars have noted the importance of research self-efficacy, perceptions of the research training environment, and interest in research in developing competent counselor educators in the area of research and scholarship. …

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