Question
Asked 1st Oct, 2014
  • National University

Which instruments do you prefer for measuring student motivation?

I would like to incorporate researcher opinion into my comparison of validated instruments to measure motivation of students in higher education.

Most recent answer

6th May, 2020
Sharon Hanlon
From experience it is a very interesting qualitative research project using questionnaire in one to one interview. A range of students from diverse age and backgrounds is key along with extensive research of Bandura. Good luck and enjoy!

Popular answers (1)

20th Nov, 2014
Norman Reid
University of Glasgow
A questionnaire only measures perceptions.
It cannot measure motivation for the self-perceptions of individuals may not match reality.
Motivation is a multi-variate concept - therefore, any attempt to measure it by a scale will end up making a highly inaccurate measurement.
I have written all this up in the literature in relation to attitudes.
More fundamentally, why do we want to measure motivation?   That on its now tells us little.  Far more important to explore what are the key factors that help motivation to become more positive.  However, motivation is dependent on attitudes.  Much better to look at attitudes (also multi-variate) and explore the underpinning factors that encourage positive attitudes in relation to, say, learning.  That ha s been done in relation to physics and published over a decade ago.  If that set of findings was followed up, we could move the entire area forward.
4 Recommendations

All Answers (42)

The following two articles may be useful:
and 
The Health and Psychosocial Instruments (HaPI) data base is probably a good place to look for measures and possibly ideas. The HaPI is available in libraries around the world, it is vended by OVID Technologies and by EBSCO. Here is the link to the website for Behavioral Measurement Database Services (BMDS, which produces HaPI): http://bmdshapi.com/
1st Oct, 2014
Barbara Miller Hall
National University
Studying student motivation (or in the case of your studies - student attrition) using an adapted instrument about organizational culture is an interesting perspective, Paul. I enjoyed learning more about person-fit theory.
I eventually want to use one or more instruments to correlate student motivation and participation in asynchronous discussions, so I don't think this particular tool (Organizational Culture item set) used in your research will meet my needs.
I'm going to keep person-fit theory in the back of my mind as I continue my investigation. Your suggestion of HaPI is quite useful.
With thanks,
Barb
1 Recommendation
1st Oct, 2014
Behzad Behzadnia
University of Tabriz
Barbara,
There are so many students` motivation that you can use, but you need to use just one of them. I mean that which kind of motivation you want to measured, intrinsic or extrinsic motivation, or situational or general motivation, and/or learning motivation and so many kinds.
However, I think you need to used the Self-Determination Theory  (Deci & Ryan, 1985-2014) tenets and instruments (https://www.selfdeterminationtheory.org), as a suggest for you.
Best wishes
2nd Oct, 2014
Shawn Bryant Collins
Loma Linda University
I have found Emotional Intelligence (Mayer, Salovey, and Caruso) and Grit (Duckworth) to be the most useful.
2nd Oct, 2014
Barbara Miller Hall
National University
Thank you, Behzad, for the suggestion of self-determination theory and to Shawn, for recommending emotional intelligence. Are there specific instruments grounded in these theories that you have used in your own research? Thanks again!
2nd Oct, 2014
Shawn Bryant Collins
Loma Linda University
Barbara,
For EI, I have used the MSCEIT v2.0. For Grit, look at Michelle Duckworth's page at the University of Penn for her instrument. Duckworth also has a great TED presentation on her groundbreaking work.
2nd Oct, 2014
Barbara Miller Hall
National University
Thanks again for the recommendations. I confess that I am on the fence about grit, as I think it sometimes downplays the influences of community, but grit might serve my purposes. I'll dig deeper.
4th Oct, 2014
Yeo Kee jiar
Universiti Teknologi Malaysia
If your framework is based on SRL perspective, I would think that the MSLQ by Pintrich is the most appropriate instrument. 
4th Oct, 2014
Norman Reid
University of Glasgow
I pass on three comments:
For what purpose do you wish to measure motivation?   Does such a measurement actually help students?  Far more useful to explore what might motivate.
Motivation is a second-order variable (indeed it is highly multivariate) and depends to a large extent on attitudes:  better to look at the attitudes directly.
No survey or questionnaire can actually measure motivation accurately for these merely reflect what a person says about themselves.  The evidence suggest strongly that we humans cannot see ourselves accurately enough to be useful.  Indeed, being multivariate, it is a logical impossibility to reduce motivation to a score or even a set of scores.
Hope that provokes thought!!
5th Oct, 2014
Barbara Miller Hall
National University
Your contributions are appreciated. I am interested in correlating student motivation - and/or perhaps some of the constructs measured by the other instruments listed below - and intersubjectivity within the peer responses in asynchronous discussions.
I have noted the following instruments:
  • Need for Relatedness at College Questionnaire (NRC-Q)
  • Academic Amotivation Inventory
  • Academic Self-regulated Learning Scale
  • Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire
  • Learning and Study Strategies Inventory
  • Online Self-Regulated Learning Questionnaire
Anyone have experience with any of these instruments or have others to add to the list?
With appreciation for your continued contributions,
Barb
7th Oct, 2014
Jean-Philippe Ayotte-Beaudet
Université de Sherbrooke
Dear Barbara,
I would recommend this review that have been published this year on interest, motivation and attitude towards science and technology at K-12 levels :
Potvin, P. & Hasni, A. (2014). Interest, motivation and attitude towards science and technology at K-12 levels: a systematic review of 12 years of educational research. Studies in Science Education50(1), 85-129.
The authors describe in particular the instruments used in this field from 2000 to 2012 in research articles. Maybe it's not exactly your field of study, but it may help you.
Best regards!
1 Recommendation
7th Oct, 2014
Barbara Miller Hall
National University
Thank you, Jean-Philippe. I am interested in tertiary/higher education students, though the information around K-12 students might be helpful. Thank you!
8th Oct, 2014
Rick Daniel Henderson
Wilfrid Laurier University
Hi Barbara, I'd be interested to see what you used as validated measures of motivation.
8th Oct, 2014
Barbara Miller Hall
National University
Hi, Rick, I am still sorting through the options and thinking about research design. So, I'm still a long way from having anything to share.
9th Oct, 2014
Alice Peterson
Lakeland Regional Medical Center
This is an out-of-the-box idea - but have you considered something like Zig Ziglar's "Road to the Sale?"  I have found that motivating someone to make a purchase, today, is well-aligned with androgogy.  My role in motivating, educating, and training college-educated colleagues is oftentimes facilitated by ensuring alignment, removing obstacles, and overcoming objections.  I also throw in some Grenny & Maxfield, "Six sources of influence."
2 Recommendations
9th Oct, 2014
Barbara Miller Hall
National University
Thanks for your unique thinking, Alice. I have not considered Road to the Sale. It sounds like that is more for motivating people to do something (e.g., make a purchase) than measuring their existing motivation before engaging in an action. Is my understanding correct? Thanks, Barb
1 Recommendation
9th Oct, 2014
Alice Peterson
Lakeland Regional Medical Center
Well, a good assessment is part of the deal.  If you do not know what the consumer is looking for, how can you match your product to their needs?  In car sales, as an example, you ask questions, "Is your lease up?" "how much have you been spending on repairs?" "What brought you in today?"  "What catches your eye on our lot?"  In training, we ask, "how can we help you become more efficient or productive?" in a variety of ways.  Like in sales, we ask, "What are your obstacles?" "I have no time!" "I have no help!" And we ask the five why's until we get to the root cause, or something that precipitates the chain of the problem that we can fix, thus preventing the breakdown. Does that make sense?
2 Recommendations
9th Oct, 2014
Barbara Miller Hall
National University
Indeed, Alice, the questions do make sense. I've done a little sellin' in my time, actually. <grin> Thanks for clarifying that you were also thinking about existing motivation.
I am looking for a standardized, validated instrument to measure student motivation - one tool that can be offered to all students before engaging in a particular learning activity so that I can compare results on this tool to performance on the learning activity.
I would prefer to use a tool already validated than create one and go through the testing for validity and reliability.
With thanks for thinking out of the box,
Barb
2 Recommendations
13th Oct, 2014
Krishnan Umachandran
NELCAST
Questionnaire evolved for Variables that are Important to Student Success Are Not Easily Measured
  • Student motivation
  • Student engagement
  • Creativity
  • Flexible thinking
  • Collaboration skills
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Perseverance
  • Curiosity
Pete Bylsma et all (2013) Measuring Student Engagement and Motivation (WERA December 2013 Conference)
13th Oct, 2014
Barbara Miller Hall
National University
Thanks, Krishnan. I was able to locate the presentation online.
1 Recommendation
14th Oct, 2014
Hector Teran
Instituto De Estudios Superiores De Administración De Venezuela
i find a little hard to find a standardized instrument that measures all that you want to basically because it depends on what exactly are you trying to measure and in what population are you trying to measure. Also there are differences in measuring motivation in any of the educational methods (elearning, blearning, mlearning...) i believe that you might begin by exploring in your population what motivates them, then to check what variables emerge and the create and validate a questionnaire that is adapted to that population that helps you to make decisions to improve the motivation.
1 Recommendation
14th Oct, 2014
Barbara Miller Hall
National University
Thank you, Hector. I would prefer to use a validated instrument rather than creating and validating my own.
With all of the wonderful contributions so far, I am leaning toward the Motivation and Engagement Scale and/or selected items from the CSEQ and/or CSXQ.
I am still open to additional conversation on the topic, so I hope no one considers this the end of the discussion.
14th Oct, 2014
Grigorios Kyriakopoulos
National Technical University of Athens
Dear Barbara,
In my opinion there is a link between the structure of each educational system in the tertiary education and the accompanying cognitive capabilities of the graduated students. The proposed measurable tools that activate students’ motivation should be focused on a deep reading and a holistic approach of learning. It is a common phenomenon that cognitive gaps that are observed in University students’ capabilities originate from structural deficiencies from the (chronologically preceding) secondary education. In these cases, I would suggest that indicative instruments which could remediate former educational inefficiencies are the: collaborative learning; learning how to learn; and the scaffolding, teaching schemes. In parallel, the adaptation of the existing educational curriculum to the current national and global environmental issues, technological-innovative advancements, and socio-economic situations should apparently enhance the students’ motivation into an integrated socialization process.
1 Recommendation
14th Oct, 2014
Barbara Miller Hall
National University
I appreciate your perspective that cognitive gaps often originate from secondary education. This is probably most true for those students who attend university immediately after secondary education. There may be less of an influence for adult learners who have been out of school for years or even decades; in this case, the gaps are as much about atrophy as omission. Thanks for your detailed perspective.
2 Recommendations
23rd Oct, 2014
Dale R. Pietrzak
Vincennes University
There are some that may work for your goals.  ACT has Engage which taps some of the elements (depending on your definition of motivation).  ETS also has a similar tool.  There are other scales as well on them.  A good review of measures can be found in the meta-analysis Richardson et al. published in 2012.
Richardson, M., Abraham, C., & Bond, R. (2012). Psychological Correlates of University Students’ Academic Performance: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 138(2), 353–387. 10.1037/a0026838
A version of it is at:
2 Recommendations
20th Nov, 2014
Norman Reid
University of Glasgow
A questionnaire only measures perceptions.
It cannot measure motivation for the self-perceptions of individuals may not match reality.
Motivation is a multi-variate concept - therefore, any attempt to measure it by a scale will end up making a highly inaccurate measurement.
I have written all this up in the literature in relation to attitudes.
More fundamentally, why do we want to measure motivation?   That on its now tells us little.  Far more important to explore what are the key factors that help motivation to become more positive.  However, motivation is dependent on attitudes.  Much better to look at attitudes (also multi-variate) and explore the underpinning factors that encourage positive attitudes in relation to, say, learning.  That ha s been done in relation to physics and published over a decade ago.  If that set of findings was followed up, we could move the entire area forward.
4 Recommendations
21st Nov, 2014
Krishnan Umachandran
NELCAST
Self-perceived competence and task value are major determinants of motivation and task engagement
"expectancy-value" theory of motivation states that motivation is strongly influenced by one's expectation of success or failure at a task as well as the "value" or relative attractiveness the individual places on the task.
The Reading Survey
This instrument consists of 20 items and uses a 4-point Likert-type response scale. The survey assesses two specific dimensions of reading motivation: self-concept as a reader (10 items) and value of reading (10 items). The items that focus on self-concept as a reader are designed to elicit information about students' self-perceived competence in reading and self-perceived performance relative to peers. The value-of-reading items are designed to elicit information about the value students place on reading tasks and activities, particularly in terms of frequency of engagement and reading-related activities.
The Conversational Interview
The interview is comprised of three sections. The first section probes motivational factors related to the reading of narrative text (3 questions); the second section elicits information about informational reading (3 questions); and the final section focuses on more general factors related to reading motivation (8 questions).
2 Recommendations
8th Apr, 2015
Ali Rahimi
Suleyman Demirel University (SDU)
Dear Barbara,
I reckon my article titled " Foreign Language Learning Demotivation: A Construct Validation Study'' could provide some insight.
good luck with your study
a.
3 Recommendations
8th Apr, 2015
Barbara Miller Hall
National University
Thanks, Rahimi. I will examine your article. I see you have provided in on ResearchGate. Thank you.
2 Recommendations
9th Apr, 2015
Ali Rahimi
Suleyman Demirel University (SDU)
Thanks for your attention , Barbara.
22nd Sep, 2016
Andi Napitupulu
Yuan Ze University
Dear all,
I am an applied linguistics student. I am now doing for my research about immigrant workers motivation learning English. I have problems in collecting the data. My Professor asked me to collect the data by using 3 instruments because my research is qualitative research. Actually I have already 2 instruments such as questionnaire and interview. I think about observation, but it is impossible because I am teaching them by online. Do you have suggestions for me? Please help me. Thank you
2 Recommendations
15th Nov, 2016
Milena Kirova
Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridski"
Dear Andi,
I think the questionnaire is for quantitative research. But if you teach online, you can use focus-groups on forums or on chats. The groups should be little 3-5 students. I will try to use this method about the motivation of my university students. They study chemistry and we see everyday that the motivation decrease, some of them leave the university . 
2 Recommendations
30th Aug, 2018
Amit Sharma
University of South-Eastern Norway
Hi. There are some standard questionnaires available for measuring motivation at http://selfdeterminationtheory.org/questionnaires/
Good luck
2 Recommendations
31st Aug, 2018
Norman Reid
University of Glasgow
As a broad overall comment, it does not matter whether we use questionnaires, focus groups or interviews: they only measure self-report and the accuracy of that is shown to be highly dubious.
Secondly, the statistical assumptions that underpin all scaling or inventories cannot be sustained. The best the approach can do is to gain general impressions - these rarely tell us anything useful.
Thirdly, it is assumed that motivation leads to better performance. That simple relationship is unsustainable.
Fourthly, despite enormous energy and effort, the supposed findings rarely bring any practical benefit to teachers in terms of specific strategies of proven value. Such strategies come from much broader, and much better conceptualised, research.
3 Recommendations
4th Feb, 2019
Mohamed Abdallah Turky
Tanta University
the power in Self-Efficacy
1 Recommendation
5th Feb, 2019
Norman Reid
University of Glasgow
Self-efficacy is no way forward either. It is just another human interpretation-invention. There is no evidence that there is such a variable. Self-report cannot help, for people simply cannot see themselves as they really are.
I ask why seek to measure such things?
History shows that such work has never offered any clear answer. It cannot. The more interesting issue is how positive motivation arises in an academic setting. There are clear pointers in the research literature and that can direct us to better ways for the future.
There is no evidence that increased motivation generates better performance - it is more likely to be the reverse. Then, that raises the question: how can we gain better performance? The answers to that are largely known.
1 Recommendation
6th Feb, 2019
Mohamed Abdallah Turky
Tanta University
Self-Efficacy
6th May, 2020
Abdelkader Mohamed Abdelkader Elsayed
Dhofar University
Peer evaluation and self-evaluation.
6th May, 2020
Abdelkader Mohamed Abdelkader Elsayed
Dhofar University
Dear Norman Reid, I agree with you.
6th May, 2020
Barbara Miller Hall
National University
Thank you again, Abdelkader Mohamed Abdelkader Elsayed , for adding your insight into another one of my questions.
Sincerely,
Barbara
6th May, 2020
Sharon Hanlon
From experience it is a very interesting qualitative research project using questionnaire in one to one interview. A range of students from diverse age and backgrounds is key along with extensive research of Bandura. Good luck and enjoy!

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Which analyses suits best for moderation?
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4 answers
  • Nathalie KoolsNathalie Kools
Currently I'm struggling with choosing between various analysis options, ranging from repeated measures design, to 4-way ANOVA to ANCOVA or to moderation analysis with the PROCESS macro of Hayes.
Some background information: My main research question is: To what extent can subgroup membership predict changes in X scores six months after participation in an intervention, and is this effect moderated by Y(controlled for Z.
I am not sure if I should work with a repeated measures design, or work with a change score of AUDIT (by calculating T1-T0). What I have read about this is that the difference scores ANOVA (1) tests whether the change or difference from T0 to T1 is equal acorss all groups, whereas ANCOVA (2) tests whether the T1 scores are equal across groups while controlling for their scores on T0. I've read that this is a small however potentially impactful distinction which got famous through Lord's paradox (https://m-clark.github.io/docs/lord/index.html / ANCOVA Versus CHANGE From Baseline in Nonrandomized Studies: The Difference: Multivariate Behavioral Research: Vol 48, No 6 (tandfonline.com)). It's been stated that if your groups are randomly assigned experimental groups, both methods are equivalent and you can choose whichever you prefer. If they are naturally occuring groups the literature indeed suggests using the difference scores method.
Since the subgroups I'm working with are latent classes that indeed 'naturally' occur, I am wondering if I should indeed go with change scores (despite its downfalls that has been written about in the literature, e.g. addition of measurement errors etc).
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All in all, I am unsure how to proceed. Thank you in advance for thinking along.

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