Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Agricultural & Extension Education (MS)

Degree Level



Agricultural Education, Communications and Technology


Donald Johnson

Committee Member

George Wardlow

Second Committee Member

Kathleen Jogan


Agriculture Students, Behaviors, Intentions, Perceptions, Water


Water over-consumption is a critical issue due to it being a mismanaged, and virtually finite, natural resource. In order to convey this information to the public and promote change, it is important to understand the public’s current attitude towards the topic in order to develop more targeted teaching approaches. The purpose of this study was to determine college-age students’ perceptions about water resource usage, their personal levels of active engagement in water conservation, and if any differences existed between agriculture students and non-agriculture students. This study utilized an online quantitative survey, guided by the Theory of Planned Behavior, which was distributed to students enrolled at the University of Arkansas in the spring of 2020. There were 255 responses, with 56.5% being agriculture students and 43.5% being non-agriculture students. Demographics, perceptions, intentions, and engagement towards water conservation were descriptively described prior to bivariate correlational analysis between constructs and demographics. Results indicated that being an agriculture major or non-agriculture major had small effects on construct score differences for a students’ perceived importance of water and their perceived behavioral control and negligible effects on students’ perceived engagement levels, social norms, future intentions, and actual engagement behaviors. Regression analysis revealed that a linear combination of perceived engagement, perceived behavioral control and political orientation could explain 16% of the variance in actual engagement behaviors, while a linear combination of a student’s perceived importance, perceived engagement, perceived behavioral control, and social norms could explain 38% of the variance in their future intentions toward water conservation organizations, programs, and policies. The results concluded that being an agriculture or non-agriculture major does not predict a student’s engagement or intentions toward water conservation but did have small effects on two of the proposed predictors. It is recommended that the scale used to measure future intentions be used in future studies and that the influence of political orientation upon response bias be examined. It is also recommended that educators continue to express the importance of water as both an economic and environmental resource.