Aspects of Computer Use by Chemistry Students in Their Final Year at School

Roger Gladwin


This report is an analysis of responses to a questionnaire given to freshers arriving at the Chemistry Department of Liverpool University to determine their previous use of computers, their perceptions of their competence, confidence and ability to benefit from computers and the importance they attach to possessing a computer and being trained in the use of computers. The questionnaire has been used between 1990 and 1998; the results presented herein include results from the surveys between 1996 and 1998. The 1990 data have been previously presented in Software Reviews Volume 3, issued February 1991; the 1992 data can be found in Volume 7, dated January 1993; the 1993 data are in Volume 9, dated March 1994; the 1994 data in Volume 11, dated May 1995; and the 1995 data in Volume 12, dated October 1995. The data for 1996 and 1997 have been reported, in part, in a comparison of results for a cohort of students who were freshers in 1996 and who returned to university in 1997. This report has been published on our web site at The survey form asks students about their use of computers in their last year at school, their perceptions of their computing skills, confidence, expectations of ability and interest in using computers, whether or not they own or have access to a computer and their attitudes to buying or hiring a computer and to training (even if that were given out of hours). The form also allows for comments. The 1996 survey data is based upon returns from 60 males and 32 females, the 1997 data on 52 males and 34 females, the 1998 data on 53 males and 27 females.

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