Asia-Pacific Forum on Science Learning and Teaching, Volume 19, Issue 2, Article 1 (Dec., 2018)
Lilia HALIM, Norshariani Abd RAHMAN, Noorzaila WAHAB, and Lilia Ellany MOHTAR
Factors influencing interest in STEM careers: An exploratory factor analysis

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Factors influencing interest in STEM careers: An exploratory factor analysis


Lilia HALIM1, Norshariani Abd RAHMAN2*, Noorzaila WAHAB3, and Lilia Ellany MOHTAR1

1Faculty of Education, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, MALAYSIA

2Institute of Islam Hadhari, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, MALAYSIA

3The Ministry of Education, MALAYSIA

*Corresponding Author's E-mail:

Received 15 Jun., 2017
Revised 13 Jul., 2018



Identifying the factors that contribute to interest in STEM will provide guidance for successful interventions as well as contribute to our understanding of how students learn STEM content and how STEM career trajectories are developed. Thus, this study aimed to develop an instrument of STEM career interest. The process of the instrument development involved four stages, namely establishing content validity, conducting a pre-test, conducting exploratory factor analysis, and performing construct reliability. In this study, an 80-item questionnaire was administered to 354 middle secondary school students (14 years of age). Exploratory factor analysis indicated that the 80 items were grouped into four main factors, namely environmental factors, STEM self-efficacy, perception of STEM careers and interest in STEM careers. Four sub-constructs were grouped under environmental factors and these are activities in the classroom, activities outside the classroom, social influences and media influences. STEM self-efficacy consisted of abilities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics while perception of STEM careers consisted of two sub-constructs i.e., job prospects and skills needed in STEM careers. STEM career fields were divided into two sub-constructs i.e., life sciences and physical sciences. It is expected that this instrument would be helpful in research and evaluation that is aimed at measuring STEM career interest in students.

Keywords: Interest in STEM careers, instrument development, social cognitive career theory (SCCT), exploratory factor analysis


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