Self Efficacy, and the way forward

While I’ll always be a fan of the OODA loop, a great conceptual model of human cognition, it does not help me in predicting outcomes. That’s why I generalized Horn et al to create a domain-knowledge/general-ability/motivation/behavior model of performance. Writing about this will be its own challenge, however.

This comes at about the same time I have discovered self-efficacy, an incredibly powerful tool first developed by Albert Bandura. Self-efficacy blows away concepts such as self-esteem, self-concept, self-definition, identity, and so on, and also better explains findings described by Expectancy-Value Theory, Goal Theory, and so on.

Self-efficacy boils down to a set of simple questions, all of which have this form: How confident are you that you can perform a specific action in order to achieve a goal, as of now. Self-efficacy is obviously beyond behavioralism, because such self-reports were frowned on by the behavioralists that Skinner. However, it is much more action-centered than other ‘cognitive’ or ‘constructive’ theories. What you feel, how proud you are, what you really want, so on, and burned away. How confident are you, right now, that you can do A to get B?

For instance, from this online resource on self-efficacy, comes a standard practice question, drived from Bandura’s famous “Guide to Creating Self-Efficacy Scales” (PDF).

If you were asked to lift a 10 pound object right now, how certain are you that you can lift it?

Respondants are given 11 choices, from 0 to 100, with 0 meaning cannot lift at all, and 100 meaning can lift without any problem.

When I first encountered self-efficacy I thought it was just a proxy of domain knowledge or long-term memory, but many, many studies show it is a seperate construct that explains variation on its own. A popularization of the concept is available from the Wall Street Jounal.

So now, I am planning to use self-efficacy, along with the rest of my model, to look at creativity in blogging. This is a large task and I need an organizational structure. Fortunately, Siwatu (2005) provides an excellent model. While Siwatu examined a different concept, we share a methodological outlook as well as a focus on self-efficacy.

So, using Siwatu as a model, how I plan to attack the problem. Italicized headings are areas where I replaced Siwatu’s topics with analogous ones in my own research.

Chapter 1 Introduction 1
Purpose of the Study 4
Research Questions 7
Definition of Terms 7
Blogging 7
Blogging Self-Efficacy 8
Blogging Creativity 8

Chapter II Review of the Literature 9
Creation 11
The Novel 12
The Useful 14
The Field 16
The Domain 17
The Value of Creativity 17

What are self-efficacy beliefs? 19
Source of Information 20
Mastery Experience 20
Vicarious Experience 20
Verbal Persuasion 21
Physiological and emotional states 21
Assessment of Self-Efficacy 22
The development of the CES Scale 25
Concerns regarding CES 29
What are Job and Creativity Self Efficacy? 33
Cognitive, Motivational, and Strategies Variables 35

General Ability 35
Domain Knowledge 37
Motivation 38
Strategies 41

Summary and Predictions 42
Chapter 3 Methods 46
Introduction 36
Quantitative Phase 36
Population and Sample 47
Measures 47
Creative Blogging Self-Efficacy Scale 47
Job Blogging Self-Efficacy Scale 48
Blogging Domain Knowledge Scale 49
Attitude Scale 50
General Ability Scale 51

Data Analysis 52

This model is missing a replacement for Siwatu’s qualitative section. I imagine that will come from creating and revising the scales I need in this research.

6 thoughts on “Self Efficacy, and the way forward”

  1. I’m looking forward to more on this.

    Do the self-efficacy questions also come with conditions or is it straight A to B terminology?

    Also, what aspects (networking / blogtanks) and/or topics (policy, theory) of blogging are you planning to use as examples of creativity?

  2. In the interest of full disclosure, I put down two 10 pound dumbbells to click a link on a comment you made at Stephen Pampinella’s blog.

    I don’t think I over-emphasize it, but I think OODA is great. I like loops, in general. I say Representative Democracy is a loop:

    The Citizens elect Officials.
    The Officials make decisions.
    The Officials act on their decisions.
    The Press reports on the action.
    The Press reports on the results.
    The Citizens read the Press.
    The Citizens elect Officials…

    It’s not a very tight loop (an anti-Federalist cry was “Where Annual Elections End, Tyranny Begins!”), and the Press operates entirely on a profit motive, but that looks to be about the way it is.

  3. Purpleslog & Aherring,

    Bandura’s Guide to Creating Self-Efficacy Scales [1] briefly summarizes the concept, contrasts it to things like self-esteem, and focuses on how it is measured. Not counting examples, it’s only 12 pages long. I recommend it as a great introduction!

    The last half of the article gives example scales, which explains how the concept may be measured better than I can.

    John SN,

    Well said. All cognition obviously happens in a cycle. Because research often focuses on the before-test-after chain it can be hard to use a cycle in some research. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist!

  4. The concept of self-efficacy is what initially attracted me to educational psychology (which is my collateral field even though it only shows up in a footnote or two in my work). It, unlike “self-esteem,” is strongly supported by research. (Re: self-esteem, just because something feels good doesn’t mean it’s working.)

    Having followed several writing sites on the web, I’ve noticed that those who would be rated highest in the self-esteem category are often the ones who lack the talent and experience necessary for successful fiction writing and are often the ones who will take an online writing course or buy into the shpiels offered by scam publishers instead of seriously evaluating their own skills.

  5. fl,

    Thanks for the info!

    Self-esteem is basically worthless, an epiphenomenon that changes in predictable ways but does not seem to affect anything. It’s like eye-color for writers: it just doesn’t matter.

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