648 research outputs found

    Measuring cultural capital through the number of books in the household

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    Cultural capital is frequently measured via the number of books in a respondent‚Äôs household. Despite this measure‚Äôs widespread use, its quality remains largely unclear. To remedy this, we conducted a comprehensive assessment of the measurement properties of two items measuring past and present objectified cultural capital via the number of books in the household of the respondent‚Äôs family of origin and the respondent‚Äôs current household, respectively. For this purpose, we used data (N‚ÄČ=‚ÄČ3260) from the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) 2012 survey in Germany and the 2015 wave of a follow-up study (PIAAC-L). We analyzed the two items' distributions (total sample and separately by age-group), test-retest reliability over 3 years (for past cultural capital only), and their convergent and divergent validity (i.e., correlations with socioeconomic status, literacy and numeracy skills, and cultural and literary activities). Our analyses (1) reveal that past and present objectified cultural capital are substantially but not perfectly related (ŌĀ‚ÄČ=‚ÄČ.52), which may reflect intergenerational transmission; (2) demonstrate that the item measuring past objectified cultural capital shows high test-retest reliability over three years (ŌĀ = .74); and (3) attest to both the convergent and divergent reliability of both items, as indicated by systematic yet only small to medium-sized correlations with socioeconomic status, literacy and numeracy skills, and cultural and literary activities. At the same time, our analyses (4) underscore that cultural capital is not a uniform construct, highlighting that the number of books captures a specific aspect of the concept (i.e., objectified cultural capital). Our findings can serve as a benchmark for future research on cultural capital

    Documenting Measurement Instruments for the Social and Behavioral Sciences (Version 1.0)

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    Measurement is the key to any quantitative science. Both the validity and the replicability of research findings hinge on the quality of the measurement instruments used. This is especially true for the social and behavioral sciences. Here, researchers o en investigate constructs such as personality, attitudes, values, intentions or behavior. Such 'latent' constructs cannot be directly observed but can only be inferred indirectly from the respondents' responses to a survey (i.e., items, scales, questionnaires or tests), which lends even greater importance to the quality of the measurement instruments used. For this reason, a thorough documentation of measurement instruments is an integral part of a transparent research practices. In this guideline, we list information that is crucial for the documentation of measurement instruments in surveys. The guideline is aligned with the quality standards for the documentation of measurement instruments in the social sciences (RatSWD, 2014) and with the standards for the documentation of psychological characteristics of the test evaluation system of the Test Board of the Federation of German Psychologists. Whereas some of these quality standards were developed for testing individuals in applied settings, our lists focuses specifically on documenting measurement instruments intended for social and behavior science research. In research, slightly di erent quality criteria apply compared to individual diagnostics

    Fluid Intelligence and Competence Development in Secondary Schooling: No Evidence for a Moderating Role of Conscientiousness

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    Fluid intelligence and conscientiousness are important predictors of students’ academic performance and competence gains. Although their individual contributions have been widely acknowledged, less is known about their potential interplay. Do students profit disproportionately from being both smart and conscientious? We addressed this question using longitudinal data from two large student samples of the German National Educational Panel Study. In the first sample, we analyzed reading and mathematics competencies of 3778 fourth graders (Mage = 9.29, 51% female) and gains therein until grade 7. In the second sample, we analyzed the same competencies in 4942 seventh graders (Mage = 12.49, 49% female) and gains therein until grade 9. The results of (moderated) latent change score models supported fluid intelligence as the most consistent predictor of competence levels and gains, whereas conscientiousness predicted initial competence levels in mathematics and reading as well as gains in mathematics (but not reading) only in the older sample. There was no evidence for interaction effects between fluid intelligence and conscientiousness. We found only one statistically significant synergistic interaction in the older sample for gains in reading competence, which disappeared when including covariates. Although our findings point to largely independent effects of fluid intelligence and conscientiousness on competence gains, we delineate avenues for future research to illuminate their potential interplay

    The Conserved Dcw Gene Cluster of R. sphaeroides Is Preceded by an Uncommonly Extended 5’ Leader Featuring the sRNA UpsM

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    Cell division and cell wall synthesis mechanisms are similarly conserved among bacteria. Consequently some bacterial species have comparable sets of genes organized in the dcw (division and cell wall) gene cluster. Dcw genes, their regulation and their relative order within the cluster are outstandingly conserved among rod shaped and gram negative bacteria to ensure an efficient coordination of growth and division. A well studied representative is the dcw gene cluster of E. coli. The first promoter of the gene cluster (mraZ1p) gives rise to polycistronic transcripts containing a 38 nt long 5’ UTR followed by the first gene mraZ. Despite reported conservation we present evidence for a much longer 5’ UTR in the gram negative and rod shaped bacterium Rhodobacter sphaeroides and in the family of Rhodobacteraceae. This extended 268 nt long 5’ UTR comprises a Rho independent terminator, which in case of termination gives rise to a non-coding RNA (UpsM). This sRNA is conditionally cleaved by RNase E under stress conditions in an Hfq- and very likely target mRNA-dependent manner, implying its function in trans. These results raise the question for the regulatory function of this extended 5’ UTR. It might represent the rarely described case of a trans acting sRNA derived from a riboswitch with exclusive presence in the family of Rhodobacteraceae

    ValiTex -- a uniform validation framework for computational text-based measures of social science constructs

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    Guidance on how to validate computational text-based measures of social science constructs is fragmented. Whereas scholars are generally acknowledging the importance of validating their text-based measures, they often lack common terminology and a unified framework to do so. This paper introduces a new validation framework called ValiTex, designed to assist scholars to measure social science constructs based on textual data. The framework draws on a long-established tradition within psychometrics while extending the framework for the purpose of computational text analysis. ValiTex consists of two components, a conceptual model, and a dynamic checklist. Whereas the conceptual model provides a general structure along distinct phases on how to approach validation, the dynamic checklist defines specific validation steps and provides guidance on which steps might be considered recommendable (i.e., providing relevant and necessary validation evidence) or optional (i.e., useful for providing additional supporting validation evidence. The utility of the framework is demonstrated by applying it to a use case of detecting sexism from social media data

    Consistency of the Structural Properties of the BFI-10 Across 16 Samples From Eight Large-Scale Surveys in Germany

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    The assessment of the Big Five personality domains is standard practice in most large-scale social surveys nowadays. The instrument most widely used for this purpose is the BFI-10, an ultra-short measure assessing each Big Five domain with two items. Recent studies have identified issues with the structural properties of the BFI-10, especially its factorial validity. To investigate whether these issues arise from the instrument itself or biases due to translation or sampling, we examined the extent to which the structural properties of the BFI-10 in terms of descriptive statistics, intercorrelations, reliability, and factorial validity vary when keeping the target population and language constant. Results revealed that, across 16 independent samples (total N ~ 60,000) from eight large-scale surveys representative of the adult population in Germany, the structural properties of the BFI-10 were (a) largely consistent and (b) mostly adequate. Most importantly, in nearly all samples, patterns of loading were congruent with an idealized Big Five structure, thereby supporting factorial validity. These results demonstrate that the structural properties of the BFI-10 are highly stable and replicable in large-scale samples. Especially given its brevity, the BFI-10 can thus be regarded as adequate for use in large-scale survey settings

    Measuring Six Facets of Curiosity in Germany and the UK: A German-Language Adaptation of the 5DCR and Its Comparability with the English-Language Source Version

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    The five-dimensional curiosity-scale revised (5DCR) by Kashdan et al. (Citation2020) is the most comprehensive curiosity inventory available to date. 5DCR measures six facets of curiosity with four items each. Here, we present a German-language adaptation of the 5DCR and comprehensively validate this adaptation in a diverse sample of adults from Germany (N‚ÄČ=‚ÄČ486). Moreover, we provide new evidence on the original English-language 5DCR in a parallel sample from the UK (N‚ÄČ=‚ÄČ483). In both countries, we investigate the six facets' reliability, factorial validity, and convergent and discriminant validity with a large set of individual-differences constructs. In addition, we analyze the measurement invariance of the curiosity facets across the UK and Germany and across socio-demographic subgroups defined by age, sex, and education. Findings demonstrate that the new German-language adaptation of 5DCR and its English-language source version show psychometric properties similar to the original studies by Kashdan et al. (Citation2020) in the United States. All six curiosity facets reach at least partial scalar invariance across cultures, sex, education, and mostly also across age groups. The findings support the six-faceted theory of curiosity and show that 5DCR allows for a valid assessment of curiosity across cultures

    Are Girls More Ambitious Than Boys? Vocational Interests Partly Explain Gender Differences in Occupational Aspirations

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    Previous research suggests that girls have higher occupational aspirations than boys before entering the labor market. We investigate whether this gender gap in occupational aspirations generalizes to secondary school students in Germany and illuminate the possible mechanisms behind these purported gender differences. For this purpose, we used a large and representative sample of ninth graders (N = 10,743) from the German National Educational Panel Study. Adolescents' occupational aspirations were coded on the International Socio-Economic Index of Occupational Status (ISEI) according to the socioeconomic status of the aspired occupation. Results showed that girls’ occupational aspirations were 6.5 ISEI points higher than boys' (Cohen's d = .36). Mediation analyses further revealed that gender differences in vocational interest could explain one-half of the gender gap in occupational aspirations. This suggests that girls' higher occupational aspirations reflect their specific vocational interests rather than a general striving for higher status and prestige compared to boys

    Beyond Competencies: Associations between Personality and School Grades Are Largely Independent of Subject-Specific and General Cognitive Competencies

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    The Big Five personality traits are established predictors of school grades. However, the mechanisms underlying these associations are not yet well understood. Effects of personality on grades might arise because behavioral tendencies facilitate learning and increase subject-specific competencies. Alternatively, personality effects on grades might be independent of cognitive competencies and reflect otherwise valued behaviors or teachers' grading practices. In the current study, we drew on large-scale data of 7th and 9th graders in Germany to explore the extent to which personality predicted grades even after accounting for competencies. Controlling for competencies and other key covariates, we cross-sectionally and longitudinally examined personality-grade associations across different school subjects, grade levels, and school types. Results indicate that the predictive power of personality is largely independent of subject-specific and general cognitive competencies. The largest effects emerged for conscientiousness. For openness, associations with grades partly overlapped with competencies, suggesting that openness may operate by fostering competencies. Overall, our results suggest that the associations between personality and grades unfold mostly independently of course mastery. This finding underlines the socioemotional value of personality in the classroom and encourages a more fine-grained view of the interplay between personality, competencies, classroom behavior, and grades
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