Isaac Scientific Publishing

Journal of Advances in Education Research

High School Student Rationales for Studying Advanced Science: Analysis of Their Psychological and Cultural Capitals

Download PDF (272.7 KB) PP. 171 - 182 Pub. Date: August 1, 2017

DOI: 10.22606/jaer.2017.23005


  • Mei-Shiu Chiu*
    National Chengchi University, Taiwan


This study aimed to identify the psychological capitals (PsyCaps) and cultural capitals (CulCaps) of high school students who chose to study advanced science. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 47 high school students in Taiwan to obtain the life experiences and rationales that motivated them to study science. Qualitative analysis of the science student data showed that PsyCaps and CulCaps tended to function in pairs and follow a PsyCap–CulCap configuration: interest (optimism)–materials, confidence (self-efficacy)–scores, resilience (control)–strategies, value– authorities, and hope (goal)–designs. The configuration was operated by the mechanism: ideal form of professional self abstracted from domain and social comparisons. Teachers can invite students to reflect on the PsyCap–CulCap configuration to guide them toward appropriate decisions on pursuing a career in science.


Cultural capital; psychological capital; science learning; secondary education


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