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Title: A Systematic Review of Instruments Measuring College Students’ Sense of Belonging
This research paper measures college students' sense of belonging. Students' sense of belonging (SB) has been identified as a critical contributor to engineering students’ persistence, academic success, and professional identity in engineering. Therefore, how to accurately measure SB has become an emerging topic but is still challenging. Although engineering education researchers are interested in measuring students’ SB, they have presented concerns over selecting an appropriate instrument that results in trustworthy measurement outcomes. One of the reasons that cause challenges is that SB is a complicated construct that has various conceptual definitions. For example, Goodenow (1993) defined SB as “being accepted, valued, included, and encouraged by others...feeling oneself to be an important part of the life and activity of the class” (p. 25), which can be measured as a general SB. On the other hand, Freeman et al. (2007) viewed SB as a multi-dimensional construct that includes class belonging, university belonging, professors’ pedagogical caring, and social acceptance. Thus far, several instruments have been developed to measure SB from a single-dimensional perspective (e.g., Goodenow’s Psychological Sense of School Membership) and a multi-dimensional perspective (e.g., Slaten et al.’s the University Belonging Questionnaire). To our best knowledge, little research effort has been made to synthesize the information of instruments developed for measuring college students’ SB. This paper attempts to close the gap in the literature by conducting a systematic review following PRISMA (the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analyses) guidelines to summarize the information and characteristics of existing SB instruments, including the theoretical framework underlying the instrument, psychometric properties in previous studies, and validation works that have been carried out. Specifically, this paper focuses on the following aims: (a) to summarize how SB has been constructed and defined by different theories in higher education, (b) to report existing measurement instruments of SB used in higher education and their psychometric properties (reliability and validity), and (c) to compare various analytical plans for establishing the construct validity (including multicultural validity) in prior instrument development studies. The emergent findings provide insights into how to effectively measure SB and would facilitate school leaders' and educators’ work in promoting engineering students’ success and broadening participation in engineering. Keywords: Sense of belonging, engineering education, instrument, systematic review  more » « less
Award ID(s):
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ;
Publisher / Repository:
American Society for Engineering Education
Date Published:
Journal Name:
2023 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition
Medium: X
Baltimore , Maryland
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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