Development of indigenous basic interest scales: Re-structuring the Icelandic interest space

Sif Einarsdóttir*, Katrín Ósk Eyjólfsdóttir, James Rounds

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


The present investigation used an emic approach to develop a set of Icelandic indigenous basic interest scales. An indigenous item pool that is representative of the Icelandic labor market was administered to three samples (N= 1043, 1368, and 2218) of upper secondary and higher education students in two studies. A series of item level cluster and factor analyses combined with scale construction techniques was used to develop unidimensional basic interest scales. These analyses yielded 28 basic interests scales in the upper secondary education samples and 35 basic interest scales in the university sample. The 35 indigenous interest scales or I-BIS are close to a complete description of the vocational interest domain in Iceland. About one-fourth of the 35 I-BISs were culturally specific to Iceland with the majority of Icelandic scales similar to the US Strong Interest Inventory Basic Interest scales (Donnay, Morris, Schaubhut, & Thompson, 2005) and Basic Interest Markers (Liao, Armstrong, & Rounds, 2008). Several interest categories found in the US inventories did not emerge in the Icelandic data: religious, military, and family activities. Multidimensional scaling (MDS) and cluster analysis were applied to the intercorrelation of the 35 I-BIS in the university student sample. The results from the MDS yielded four dimensions that were not interpretable. The cluster results indicate that a hierarchical model of eight general interest clusters and facets measured by the 35 I-BIS best describes the vocational interest landscape in Iceland. The hierarchical model is a comprehensive representation of interests in Icelandic culture and can be used as benchmark in future research of commonalities and differences across cultures. This study has implications for emic and etic approaches in vocational interest research and can a serve as a prototype for the development of indigenous measures and models for use in career counseling.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-115
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Vocational Behavior
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Vibeke Svala Kristinsdóttir and Steinunn Harpa Jónsdóttir for their assistance in the data collection and analysis, and Kristjana Stella Blöndal for helpful comments on an earlier draft of the manuscript. This research was made possible by a grant from RANNÍS, the Icelandic Center for Research and the research fund at the University of Iceland .

Other keywords

  • Assessment
  • Basic interests
  • Cross-cultural
  • Emic
  • Vocational interests


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