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Social psychology and politics
Social psychology and politics

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2.5 Evaluating the activism orientation scale

Having completed the activism orientation scale, think about its strengths and weaknesses.

Activity 4 Evaluating the activism orientation scale

What were your experiences of filling out the activism orientation scale? How easy or difficult did you find it? Did you feel that it captured and/or explained your feelings and attitudes towards activism?

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Discussion

You will probably have found this task fairly easy. Scales like this are designed to be straightforward for participants to fill in. On the other hand, you may have found that the scale didn’t really relate to you and to your life experiences. Or, that the questions were quite hard to answer (or to answer them in the way that you wanted). A common issue that people raise with these kinds of scales is that it does not allow for an ‘it depends’ kind of answer. Also, whether or not people are willing to display a political poster, or attend a political meeting, can depend on exactly what political causes such actions relate to. You may feel differently about acting on behalf of a political party as compared to an environmental charity, for example. This can be a problem with scales like this because they attempt to generalise across a variety of different contexts. In theory, it shouldn’t be a problem, as your activism orientation – like all individual differences – is thought to be relatively stable and so context shouldn’t be an issue. However, there are questions about whether this is always the case, and whether it is possible to generalise across a wide range of different social contexts and conditions under which political action occurs. This point will be picked up again in Section 4 of the course.