Beyond Composite Scores and Cronbach’s Alpha: Advancing Methodological Rigor in Recreation Research




Cronbach’s alpha, applied statistics, applied research methods, factor analysis, parental involvement, PCIS, competition climbing


Critically examining common statistical approaches and their strengths and weaknesses is an important step in advancing recreation and leisure sciences. To continue this critical examination and to inform methodological decision making, this study compared three approaches to determine how alternative approaches may result in contradictory conclusions in the interpretation of the psychometric properties of a scale and in response to a given research question. To this end, this study explored what factors best predicted parental endorsement of competition climbing in a sample of 184 parents of youth competition climbers. The study findings suggest that the three distinct approaches provided meaningfully different conclusions regarding the adapted psychometric properties of the questionnaire, but offered no meaningful differences in the primary finding of the study: Parent–coach relationship quality is the best predictor of parental endorsement of competition climbing. The results suggest that deeper examination of self-report questionnaire data may advance our understanding of complex recreation and leisure constructs beyond what can be understood with less advanced analytic techniques.Subscribe to JOREL

Author Biographies

Ryan J. Gagnon, Clemson University

Ryan J. Gagnon, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management at Clemson University.

Garrett A. Stone, Clemson University

Garrett A. Stone, M.S., is a Ph.D. student in the department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management at Clemson University.

Barry A. Garst

Barry A. Garst, Ph.D., is an associate professor in the department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management at Clemson University.


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