Effect of Rancher’s Management Philosophy, Grazing Practices, and Personal Characteristics on Sustainability Indices for North Central Texas Rangeland Page: 64
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Sections 2, 4, and 5 of the questionnaire were designed to gather information about ranch
level indicators to assess the degree of sustainability associated with economic, ecological and
social elements of rangeland management as indicated by literature (West and Herrick, 2003;
Maczko et al., 2004; Heitschmidt et al., 2004). These sections were used for creation of three
indices which implicate the degree of sustainability which can be assigned to each respondent's
ranch concerning each of the three sustainability elements.
One of the stated objectives of this research is to assess the impact of grazing
management philosophy, land management practices, and respondent's personal characteristics
on grassland sustainability (which the survey attempts to capture in Sections 1, 3, and 6). There
must be a way to measure the impact. Creating a metric from responses to Sections 2, 3, and 5
will allow for these critical comparisons. When creating the metric, which referred to as the
sustainability indices," the extent to which questions within each section assessed the same
characteristic needed to be measured to reduce the number of ambiguous variables.
Also, there is a need to demonstrate the testing instrument is reliable. Internal
consistency is a gauge of the relationship between each item and each other item. It may help
researchers interpret data and predict the limits of the relationship among variables (Howell et
Furthermore, Garson (2011 a) states that indices are sets of items which are thought to
measure a latent variable. Items in an index will normally be more intercorrelated with each
other than with other items. Cronbach's alpha is a common test of whether items are sufficiently
interrelated to justify their combination in an index (Starkweather, 2011 b) and is a useful
coefficient for assessing internal consistency (Cronbach, 1951; Bland and Altman, 1997).
Likewise, when attempting to measure a construct with multiple indicator variables, as done
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Becker, Wayne. Effect of Rancher’s Management Philosophy, Grazing Practices, and Personal Characteristics on Sustainability Indices for North Central Texas Rangeland, dissertation, December 2011; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc103289/m1/75/: accessed January 20, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .