Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Education


Abraham S. Fischler College of Education


Steven Hecht

Committee Member

Dana Mills


diffusion of innovations, education research, innovation characteristics, research participation, teacher self-efficacy, theory to practice gap


This dissertation was designed to identify factors that might explain teacher resistance versus teacher support for participation in education research. To that end, predictor variables suggested by both diffusion of innovations theory, as well as personality trait theories were examined as unique predictors of variability in attitudes toward adoption of participation in the research process. Furthermore, “exposure to research” was examined as another possible variable that may be uniquely associated with willingness to participate in research, beyond the other theoretically motivated variables. The researcher developed a survey instrument featuring four research vignettes that increased in demands for teacher participation. Each vignette was followed by questions directly related to factors inherent to each innovation (diffusion of innovations) and questions related to personality trait theories, explicitly “teacher self-efficacy” and “openness to new experiences”. The questions were asked using scales based on the works of Albert Bandura, specifically designed to measure rate of confidence and rate of agreement. Following the research vignettes, a series of demographic questions were asked as well as whether the participant had previously participated in research either at the professional or collegiate level. The survey instrument was completed anonymously by educators online, using the SurveyMonkey Audiences platform as the host site. An analysis of the data revealed that educators who displayed a high level of teacher self-efficacy were more willing to adopt participation in research studies, regardless of the level of required tasks for research participation. This variable uniquely predicted willingness to participate in research over and above all other variables. Previous exposure to research did not produce a significant effect and, in turn, was not a predictor for willingness to participate in research given any of the research vignettes. The diffusion of innovations variables produced varied results, depending on research vignette and number of required tasks. All five of the diffusion of innovations variables yielded a significant result at least one time in any given scenario.