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Analysis of participants in rural adult education Goard, Dean Sinclair

Abstract

Most research on participation in adult education has described participants using static variables, however, it has been suggested that dynamic factors which describe the relationship between the individual and the organization have more potential value. This study included both types of variables when analyzing the factors which influence participation in adult education in a rural Canadian setting. The data for this study were collected during the summer months of 1967, when interviews were completed with 881 household heads in six rural regions of British Columbia. The 126 respondents who were classified as participants and an equal number of randomly drawn non-participants were compared using both static and dynamic variables. The distributions within the groups were tested for significant differences using the chi square statistic while linear relationships were indicated by correlation coefficients. To remove the effects of the variables of age and education from the relationships existing between the two groups a second sample of non-participants was matched with the participants on these variables. The new groups were then compared using the static and dynamic variables on which the original groups had differed significantly. The first and second hypotheses which proposed significant differences between the two groups with respect to certain static and dynamic variables, were tentatively accepted when the original samples of participants and non-participants were shown to differ significantly on thirteen static and eight dynamic variables. The third hypothesis which proposed differences between vocational and non-vocational participants was only partially accepted as the two groups differed on the variables of occupational prestige and income. The findings with respect to the first two hypotheses were modified when the matched groups were shown to differ significantly on only five static and two dynamic variables. On these variables the participants reported better job training and better jobs, fewer but better educated children, and greater formal social participation. They also reported a greater felt need for further education and stated more willingness to give up spare time for this education. A general conclusion was proposed which suggested that the participants exhibited a more favourable attitude to education than did the non-participants. But this conclusion is tentative as the findings of the study emphasize both the need for further research with dynamic variables and the control of age and education variables when comparing participants and non-participants.

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