Data Collection Technology in Social Work: Evaluating Barriers to Utilization
Jewett, Cynthia Lynn
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This thesis explores Master of Social Work students’ Behavioral Intent (BI) to use Excel using the Unified Theory of Acceptance and Technology Usage (UTAUT) as a theoretical framework. Excel was selected as a proxy measure of students’ overall readiness for data-intensive professional tasks, including fundraising, outcome tracking and reporting, and assorted administrative and research activities. A survey was adapted from the original UTAUT to measure students’ BI to use Excel, as well as four theorized constructs which were hypothesized to explain BI. The survey was then distributed to a sample of students. Fifty-eight complete responses were received and analyzed using scripts written in the R programming language. The five measured constructs were tested for reliability using Cronbach’s α and one was discarded after it was found to lack sufficient internal consistency. Significant relationships between the three remaining exogenous constructs and BI were evaluated individually with bivariate regressions and collectively with a multivariable regression. The results of those regressions suggest that the constructs collectively can explain 64% of the variation in the subpopulation’s BI, with student expectations about the utility of the software for their careers (Performance Expectancy) being the strongest predictor of BI. Despite methodological limitations, the results of this study highlight potential paths forward for research into strategies for improving student readiness in an increasingly data-driven professional world.