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This article reports the first meta-analysis of the L2 Motivational Self System (Dörnyei, 2005, 2009). A total of 32 research reports, involving 39 unique samples and 32,078 language learners, were meta-analyzed. The results showed that the three components of the L2 Motivational Self System (the ideal L2 self, the ought-to L2 self, and the L2 learning experience) were significant predictors of subjective intended effort (rs = .61, .38, and .41, respectively), though weaker predictors of objective measures of achievement (rs = .20, –.05, and .17). Substantial heterogeneity was also observed in most of these correlations. The results also suggest that the strong correlation between the L2 learning experience and intended effort reported in the literature is, due to substantial wording overlap, partly an artifact of lack of discriminant validity between these two scales. Implications of these results and directions for future research are discussed.
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Studies in Second Language Learning and Teaching
Department of English Studies, Faculty of Pedagogy and Fine Arts, Adam Mickiewicz University, Kalisz
SSLLT 8 (4). 2018. 721-754
The L2 motivational self system: A meta-analysis
Ali H. Al-Hoorie
Jubail Industrial College, Saudi Arabia
This article reports the first meta-analysis of the L2 motivational self system
(Dörnyei, 2005, 2009). A total of 32 research reports, involving 39 unique samples
and 32,078 language learners, were meta-analyzed. The results showed that the
three components of the L2 motivational self system (the ideal L2 self, the ought-
to L2 self, and the L2 learning experience) were significant predictors of subjective
intended effort (rs = .61, .38, and .41, respectively), though weaker predictors of
objective measures of achievement (rs = .20, -.05, and .17). Substantial heteroge-
neity was also observed in most of these correlations. The results also suggest that
the strong correlation between the L2 learning experience and intended effort re-
ported in the literature is, due to substantial wording overlap, partly an artifact of
lack of discriminant validity between these two scales. Implications of these re-
sults and directions for future research are discussed.
Keywords: ideal L2 self; ought-to L2 self; L2 learning experience; L2 motiva-
tional self system; self-guides
1. Introduction
In 2005, Dörnyei introduced the L2 motivational self system (L2MSS) as an attempt
to explain individual differences in language learning motivation. The L2MSS is in-
fluenced by a number of theories, most notably possible selves theory (Markus &
Nurius, 1986), self-discrepancy theory (Higgins, 1987), and the socio-educational
Ali H. Al-Hoorie
model (Gardner, 1979, 1985, 2010). A fundamental assumption in the L2MSS is
that when the learner perceives a discrepancy between their current state and
their future self-guide (i.e., ideal or ought), this discrepancy may function as a mo-
tivator to bridge the perceived gap and reach the desired end-state. In 2009, the
first anthology testing this model appeared (Dörnyei & Ushioda, 2009b) reporting
a number of empirical investigations that, according to Dörnyei (2009), “found
solid confirmation for the proposed self system” (p. 31).
Subsequently, interest in this model increased exponentially in the lan-
guage motivation field. Within just one decade, the L2MSS generated “an excep-
tional wave of interest with literally hundreds of studies appearing worldwide”
(Dörnyei & Ryan, 2015, p. 91). In fact, in their comprehensive survey of over 400
recent publications, Boo, Dörnyei, and Ryan (2015) report that the L2MSS is cur-
rently the dominant theoretical framework in the field. Boo et al. (2015) attribute
this dominance to the versatility of the model and its ability to accommodate a
wide range of perspectives from different theoretical orientations.
The L2MSS consists of three main components (Dörnyei, 2005, 2009): the
ideal L2 self, the ought-to L2 self, and the L2 learning experience. The ideal L2
self refers to the state one would ideally like to reach, thus representing one’s
own hopes and wishes. The ought-to L2 self, on the other hand, refers to the
state that others would want one to reach, thus representing the expectations
projected by significant others. On a different level, the L2 learning experience
concerns one’s experience in the immediate learning environment, involving as-
pects such as the teacher, the curriculum, and peers. The next section reviews
the evidence each of these three components has generated.
2. Components of the L2MSS
2.1. The ideal L2 self
The ideal L2 self has received a significant amount of attention in recent litera-
ture. However, the results seem to have led to a range of conclusions in the field,
some of which seem polarized. On the one hand, the predictive validity of the
ideal L2 self has been described as “straightforward” (Dörnyei & Ushioda, 2011,
p. 87), and as providing “solid confirmation” (Dörnyei, 2009, p. 31) in that “the
emerging picture consistently supports [its] validity” (Dörnyei, 2014, p. 521).
Similarly, Dörnyei and Ryan (2015) argue that “virtually all the validation studies
reported in the literature found the L2 Motivation Self System providing a good
fit for the data” (p. 91). Ghanizadeh and Rostami (2015) further state that the “re-
sults conclusively verified the model in virtually every context.” These comments
generally refer to the ideal L2 self specifically (see also Ghanizadeh, Eishabadi, &
The L2 motivational self system: A meta-analysis
Rostami, 2016, p. 15; Henry & Cliffordson, 2015, p. 20; Islam, Lamb, & Chambers,
2013, p. 238; Teimouri, 2017, p. 683).
On the other hand, some other researchers expressed some reservation.
For example, in their investigation of Korean secondary school students, Kim and
Kim (2011) report that the ideal L2 self could not predict school grades. The re-
searchers note that “being motivated by developing a vivid ideal L2 self through
a dominant visual preference seems to be irrelevant to the level of academic
achievement” (p. 36). Similarly, Lamb (2012) administered a C-test to Indonesian
learners and found, again, that the ideal self could not predict proficiency. He
therefore argued that although his participants “would like to see themselves as
future users of English (ideal L2 self), what makes them more likely to invest
effort in learning is whether they feel positive about the process of learning” (p.
1014). In the Canadian context, MacIntyre and Serroul (2015) examined the re-
lationship between the ideal L2 self and actual L2 performance in their idiody-
namic paradigm, which measures individual motivational variability on a per-
second timescale. The researchers found “no evidence” (p. 126) that the ideal
L2 self is dynamic or adapting to the changing task demands. In the Iranian con-
text, Papi and Abdollahzadeh (2012) also found that the ideal L2 self does not
predict actual classroom behavior. The researchers explain that:
the learners’ ideal image of their future self does not have much impact on their
motivated behavior in English language classrooms or vice versa; that is, regardless
of how well-developed the students’ ideal L2 self is, their actual motivated behavior
in classroom activities will remain unaffected, and regardless of how motivated the
students are in class, their ideal L2 selves will remain unchanged. (Papi & Abdollahzadeh,
2012, p. 588)
In the Saudi context, Moskovsky, Assulaimani, Racheva, and Harkins (2016) found
the ideal L2 self to be a negative predictor of language proficiency. The research-
ers argue that, overall, the results “at best indicate a tenuous link between the self
guides and achievement” (p. 650).
Thus, the emerging literature points to a rather complex picture. This could
plausibly due to certain factors, such as applicability of the model to different con-
texts or participants, or the use of different outcome meas ures. As explained in more
detail below, a meta-analysis can help shed more light on such conflicting results.
2.2. The ought-to L2 self
In contrast to the controversy surrounding the ideal L2 self, there seems to be
more agreement that the ought-to L2 self could benefit from some improve-
ment. For example, Dörnyei and Chan (2013) acknowledge that “while [ought-to
Ali H. Al-Hoorie
selves] do play a role in shaping the learners’ motivational mindset, in many
language contexts they lack the energising force to make a difference in actual
motivated learner behaviours by themselves” (p. 454). They then go on to ex-
plain that “while the participants perceived the external pressures on them as
being valid and did intend to adjust their behavior accordingly, this intended ef-
fort was not manifested in their actual grades” (p. 454, original emphasis).
In recognition of the wanting nature of the ought-to L2 self construct, a num-
ber of developments have been proposed. Most of these developments argue for
the need to incorporate the distinction between own and other standpoints in both
the ideal and ought-to L2 selves. From this perspective, the ideal L2 self should be
separated into two constructs, one representing one’s own hopes and one signifi-
cant others’ hopes. Similarly, the ought-to L2 self should be bifurcated into obliga-
tions one would like to perform and obligations others expect one to perform (see
Papi, Bondarenko, Mansouri, Feng, & Jiang, in press; Taylor, 2013).
For example, Thompson and Vásquez (2015) conducted a narrative study on
three language teachers and argued that their data indicate a distinction between
an ought-to L2 self and an anti-ought-to L2 self, the latter referring to one’s own
desires that are at odds with what the others expect from the individual. Lanvers
(2016) conducted another qualitative study on language learners and argued that
the ought–other standpoint should feature more prominently in educational con-
texts, as parents and teachers typically exert a lot of influence on students.
In one of the few quantitative studies testing the relevance of own–other
standpoints to the language learning context, Teimouri (2017) developed question-
naire scales to measure each of the four proposed constructs: the ideal–own, ideal–
other, ought–own, and ought–other. Interestingly, Teimouri found support for the
distinction between own and other in the case of the ought-to L2 self, but not the
ideal L2 self. Teimouri argued that ideals are highly internalized, and consequently
they may not be separable into those that relate to one’s own versus others’ ideals.
However, in order to be able to evaluate the contribution of these devel-
opments and the extent to which they have advanced the original construct, it
is important to have a frame of reference. That is, without quantifying the pre-
dictive validity of the original ought-to L2 self, it may not be immediately appar-
ent how much of an improvement an alternative variation of this construct is. A
meta-analysis can offer a baseline against which the effectiveness of refor-
mation attempts can be evaluated.
2.3. The L2 learning experience
This construct has been variously labeled as ‘the L2 learning experience’ and as
‘attitudes toward language learning.’ All these terms refer to the same construct
The L2 motivational self system: A meta-analysis
because of the considerable overlap in the scales used to measure them (cf. You,
Dörnyei, & Csizér, 2016, pp. 96-97). The L2 learning experience operates on a differ-
ent level from either the ideal L2 self or the ought-to L2 self. Unlike them, the L2
learning experience is concerned with attitudes and evaluations of the present
learning environment rather than a future-oriented self-guide. However, due to the
increasing interest in self-guides in recent years (cf. Boo et al., 2015), very little at-
tention has been paid to this con struct. For example, Dörnyei describes the L2 lea rn-
ing experience as the situated, executive motive (Dörnyei, 2009, p. 29) and as the
causal dimension (Dörnyei, 2005, p. 106) of the model. Beyond that, very little work
has been done to clarify the role of such executive motives or the mechanisms that
underlie their causal effect, making it the least theorized construct in the L2MSS
(Ushioda, 2011, p. 201). Despite that, the L2 learning experience has been de-
scribed as the strongest predictor in the L2MSS (e.g., Lamb, 2012; Teimouri, 2017).
Interestingly, the vast majority of studies testing this construct in our field
has been observational. The standard design involves administering a question-
naire scale to learners and then examining the relationship (e.g., using correla-
tion, regression, or structural equation modeling) between scores from this
scale and from other criterion measures. However, this approach is prone to
confounds, thus risking obtaining spurious results that do not underlie a genuine
causal relationship. Beleche and colleagues point out the need for caution in
interpreting observational studies:
The positive association between grades and course evaluations may also reflect ini-
tial student ability and preferences, instructor grading leniency, or even a favorable
meeting time, all of which may translate into higher grades and greater student sat-
isfaction with the course, but not necessarily to greater learning. (Beleche, Fairris, &
Marks, 2012, p. 709)
Other potential factors shown to confound course evaluations include the teacher’s
age, ethnicity, gender, and even clothes and attractiveness (for reviews, see
Ottoboni, Boring, & Stark, 2016; Stark & Freishtat, 2014). In fact, results by Ambady
and Rosenthal (1993) show that students, simply after watching a very brief silent
video (less than 30 seconds), form impressions about their teachers and that these
first impressions then predict end-of-course evaluations. The presence of all of
these biases has led some researchers to cast serious doubt on the value of course
evaluation, with some considering any attempt to statistically adjust for the many
biases involved to be practically “impossible” (Ottoboni et al., 2016, p. 10).
When it comes to experimental research, a number of educational studies
conducted in different parts of the world – including Italy (Braga, Paccagnella, &
Pellizzari, 2014), France (Boring, 2015), and the United States (Arbuckle & Williams,
2003; Carrell & West, 2010; MacNell, Driscoll, & Hunt, 2015) – have demonstrated
Ali H. Al-Hoorie
that student satisfaction with the course is biased (based on objective measures).
The results of these studies also cast doubt on any clear (positive) causal rela-
tionship between satisfaction with the course and achievement. In fact, some
of them found a negative relationship between satisfaction and success in sub-
sequent, more advanced courses. For example, results by Braga et al. (2014)
show that “teachers who are more effective in promoting future performance
receive worse evaluations from their students” (p. 81).
In the present study, an attempt is made to meta-analyze the relationship
between the L2 learning experience and language learning outcomes. The re-
sults are then used as a springboard to discuss the implications of results from
observational studies and compare them to those from experimental studies.
3. Need for meta-analysis
A rigorous evaluation of a theory requires a systematic review of its accumulat-
ing literature. When sufficient quantitative reports become available, their re-
sults may be synthesized in a meta-analysis. A meta-analysis typically aims to
estimate the magnitude (and confidence intervals) of the reported effect sizes,
while moving away from a dichotomous significant versus non-significant out-
come. A meta-analysis can also be helpful in shedding light on conflicting results.
That is, it is plausible that conflicting results might to some extent be explainable
by certain characteristics of different studies, such as type of participants, re-
search design, or instruments used. For example, the literature on the ideal L2
self has drawn from different measures to date. Some researchers used subjec-
tive self-reports (i.e., intended effort), while others used more objective criteria
(e.g., school grades and other achievement tests). It is plausible that different
measures lead to different results. When used to test such hypotheses, a meta-
analysis can potentially contribute to resolving debates in the literature.
4. The present study
Despite the growing number of studies drawing from the L2MSS, no systematic
meta-analysis has been conducted on this literature to date. Instead, previous
researchers have so far engaged in head-counting, such as tallying the number
of published studies (e.g., Boo et al., 2015); or in vote-counting, such as describ-
ing the results of these studies as either supporting the theory or as ‘mixed’
(e.g., Dörnyei & Chan, 2013). Describing findings as mixed does not inform the
reader about their average estimate, the width of its confidence interval, and
whether any heterogeneity (i.e., variability of the estimate) found can or cannot be
explained by moderators. Because a meta-analysis can address these questions, the
The L2 motivational self system: A meta-analysis
present study aimed to meta-analyze studies drawing from the L2MSS. More spe-
cifically, the primary research question guiding this meta-analysis is as follows:
RQ. What is the correlation between each of the three components of the L2MSS
(the ideal L2 self, the ought-to L2 self, and the L2 learning experience) and
educational outcomes (subjective and objective measures)?
This research question indicates a total of six correlations to be investigated: three
correlations with subjective measures and three with objective measures. Catego-
rizing outcome measures into subjective and objective was a rather pragmatic de-
cision due to, as is explained in more detail below, the scarcity of studies utilizing
objective measures in the field. The vast majority of studies in recent literature have
used intended effort as their primary criterion variable. However, objective
measures of actual language learning and achievement (e.g., grades and other
standardized tests) represent an indispensable part of the overall picture. For ex-
ample, Roth et al. (2015) argue that “school grades are crucial for accessing further
scholastic and occupational qualification, and therefore, have an enormous influ-
ence on an individual’s life” (p. 118). Similarly, Moskovsky et al. (2016) claim that
“therein lies the real test for the theory – in the capacity of the self guides to predict
L2 achievement” (p. 643; see also Dörnyei & Chan, 2013, p. 454; Dörnyei & Ryan,
2015, p. 101). Indeed, language proficiency and achievement are an essential con-
sideration for many stakeholders such as parents, teachers, and future employers.
Still, arguing that objective measures are ‘the real test’ of a theory might
imply downplaying subjective measures, when in fact subjective measures
might plausibly capture a dimension not captured by objective criteria. For com-
pleteness, therefore, the correlation between the two outcome measures was
investigated to find out the degree of correspondence between them.
5. Method
5.1. Inclusion criteria
In order to be eligible for inclusion in this meta-analysis, the report must satisfy
the following criteria:
1. It must involve a quantitative component. Qualitative and conceptual
articles were excluded.
2. It must be about language learners. Reports about language teachers
were excluded.
3. It must include at least one of the three components of the L2MSS.
Ali H. Al-Hoorie
4. It must include at least one outcome variable, such as school grades,
objective tests, or subjective intended effort.
5. It must report the zero-order correlation between at least one component
of the L2MSS and one outcome measure, or provide sufficient information
to calculate it. Studies with only regression coefficients were excluded.
6. It must be published in English.
7. It must have been available by the start of June 2017.
5.2. Literature search
The literature search commenced with the article pool compiled by Boo et al.
(2015), spanning the period from 2005 to 2014 (k = 283, excluding book chapters).
To complement this list and to find more recent reports, a search was conducted
in databases relevant to our field: ERIC, LLBA, MLA, ProQuest, and PsychINFO us-
ing the following keywords: ideal L2 self, ought-to L2 self, L2 learning experience,
and L2 motivational self system. This resulted in a number of additional journal
articles and unpublished theses (k = 51). The list was then complemented by a
Google Scholar search and by an ancestry search to ensure saturation (k = 21).
Furthermore, 19 edited volumes published since 2005 were inspected (k = 309
chapters). Finally, a call for papers was announced at various relevant mailing lists,
including BAALmail, Linguist List, myTESOL Lounge, Korea TESOL, and IATEFL Re-
search SIG, as well as social media – resulting in further reports (k = 14).
This search procedure has therefore resulted in a pool of 678 journal arti-
cles, book chapters, and unpublished manuscripts, ranging from conceptual to
empirical, quantitative and qualitative, as well as duplicates (e.g., theses that
were later turned to one, or more, publications). This pool of reports was sub-
sequently examined against the inclusion criteria listed above. Eventually, 32 re-
ports involving 39 unique samples and 32,078 language learners met all inclu-
sion criteria. The lists of the included studies and of their characteristics are
available in Appendices A and B.
5.3. Data analysis
Software. Comprehensive Meta Analysis 3.3 (Borenstein, Hedges, Higgins, &
Rothstein, 2014) was used for all analyses. A random-effects model was imple-
mented, since there was no reason to assume that all studies share one com-
mon effect size. Heterogeneity was examined using the I2-statistic and its asso-
ciated significance value. The presence of significant heterogeneity implies that
the effect is highly variable and could potentially be explained by certain char-
acteristics of different studies.
The L2 motivational self system: A meta-analysis
Publication bias. Publication bias refers to the situation where the out-
come of a study has an effect on whether that study is eventually published.
Studies reporting statistically significant results tend to be perceived as more
interesting than those reporting non-significant results, and therefore the latter
may not successfully complete the long and laborious publication process. The
authors themselves can also become discouraged or lose interest, and conse-
quently decide not to undergo the publication process. In some cases, the au-
thors may believe that there must have been a mistake, especially when their
results are not in line with mainstream views. This can lead to what is known as
the file drawer problem (Rosenthal, 1979).
Publication bias may be inferred when small-scale studies, with statistically
lower precision, report extreme values relative to larger-scale studies. Due to their
lower power, some small studies are expected to find non-significant results
simply by chance. However, when such small studies report significant results con-
sistently, the likelihood that the literature is significant-biased increases. In the
present meta-analysis, publication bias was examined using the Trim and Fill
method (Duval & Tweedie, 2000a, 2000b). The Trim and Fill method is currently
the most popular corrective technique to adjust for publication bias in contempo-
rary meta-analytic literature (Simonsohn, Nelson, & Simmons, 2014).
Inclusion criteria. Initially, a second coder analyzed 10% of the reports inde-
pendently against the inclusion criteria described above (Cohen’s = .76, p <
.001). Subsequently, discrepancies were resolved by discussion until 100% agree-
ment was reached. Very few studies reported longitudinal investigations (k = 1).
In this case, the first time point was included. Also very few studies reported two
measures for the L2 learning experience (k = 1) or intended effort (k = 1). In these
cases, the two measures were averaged before inclusion in the analysis.
Most studies adopted the standard research design of administering ques-
tionnaire scales adopted with minor variations from Taguchi, Magid, and Papi
(2009), typically translated to the participants’ L1. Some reports were excluded
for not reporting the results for Pearson correlation, such as instead reporting re-
gression coefficients (k = 13), the path coefficients in structural equation models
(k = 11), or other procedures (k = 2). However, over 90% of these reports used
intended effort as their criterion measure. Due to the relatively large number of
reports drawing from intended effort that are already eligible for inclusion in the
present meta-analysis, the excluded reports would have probably had a minor im-
pact had they been included. This issue is discussed further in the Limitations sec-
tion below (see Appendix C for a list of studies excluded for incomplete reporting).
Published versus unpublished reports. Unpublished reports are typically
included in meta-analyses (Norris & Ortega, 2006). Although unpublished stud-
ies raise quality concerns, they may also represent studies with null results or with
Ali H. Al-Hoorie
results going against mainstream views – making them harder to publish. Other
reports may have been completed as part of a degree program (e.g., MA or PhD)
and publication was not subsequently pursued.
In the present meta-analysis, there were a number of unpublished reports (k
= 6). As a quality control procedure, moderation analysis was conducted to compare
the results obtained from published and unpublished reports. The results showed
that all comparisons were non-significant at the .05 level, thus providing no evi-
dence that this small sample of unpublished reports have biased the results.
Study quality. Study quality is a perennial problem in meta-analysis, since
low quality studies could potentially bias the results. While some researchers
advocate excluding low quality studies altogether, others recommend including
them and then conducting sensitivity analysis (e.g., Norris & Ortega, 2006). This
is partly because study quality is not a straightforward concept, and different
researchers may evaluate quality differently. Sensitivity analysis, however, can
show whether the overall results are robust or highly influenced by the presence
of studies with debatable quality.
In the present meta-analysis, the target statistic was Pearson correlation. Be-
cause this is a relatively straightforward procedure, it was expected that most re-
ports would exhibit satisfactory quality. Following guidelines outlined by Dörnyei
(2010), particular attention was also paid to psychometrics, such as using multi-item
scales, providing suitable response options, and reporting reliability. All reports sat-
isfying the inclusion criteria were analyzed by two coders independently (Cohen’s
= .87, p < .001). Discussion of the minor discrepancies obtained led to the conclu-
sion that a small number of reports (k = 2) might potentially bias the results as the
reliability of individual scales was missing. Sensitivity analysis was therefore con-
ducted to examine the effect of excluding these two reports (see Results below).
Subjective versus objective outcomes. In the present sample, a large num-
ber of studies used intended effort as their criterion variable. In fact, even sub-
jective self-ratings of proficiency can hardly be found in the literature. A smaller
number of studies used more objective measures, including school grades and
proficiency tests. Moderation analysis was conducted to compare the results
obtained from school grades and from other objective measures. All tests were
non-significant, thus justifying combining grades and objective measures into
one category (called “achievement” henceforth).1
Further moderators.Unfortunately, it was not possible to test the moder-
ating effect of some important learner characteristics, including age, gender,
1 It has to be clarified that the term “subjective” does not mean less valid or less reliable. It
simply means that it relies on the learner’s own perspective rather than on the results of a
formal language test. Objective and subjective measures, therefore, serve different purposes.
The L2 motivational self system: A meta-analysis
and context. In terms of age, not a single study involving pre-secondary learners
qualified for the final analysis, supporting Boo et al.’s (2015) observation that there
is a “virtual absence” (p. 156) of research on younger learners in recent years. A
few studies reported results for secondary and university learners separately, but
the literature does not seem mature enough to meta-analyze the role of this vari-
able since it was not always clear whether the target language was learned as part
of a major or elective course or as an L2 or L3. In terms of gender, most studies
reported the results combined for males and females, thus precluding any com-
parisons between the two genders. In terms of context, most investigations were
conducted in a foreign language context, and only a small minority were in a sec-
ond language context (k = 5, 3 of which were unpublished dissertations). Finally, a
very small number of studies investigated a language other than English (k = 3),
supporting Dörnyei and Al-Hoorie’s (2017) argument that the language motivation
field is currently English-biased. Implications of these trends are discussed later.
6. Results
Table 1 reports the correlations between each of the three components of the
L2MSS and the two outcome measures, as well as those between the two out-
come measures themselves. In all cases, a sizable number of learners were in-
cluded, with the smallest total being over 1,300. It is further evident from Table
1 that considerably fewer studies included a measure of actual achievement,
while most used intended effort as their primary outcome variable.
Table 1 Correlations between the three L2MSS components and the two out-
come variables
Intended effort Achievement
k N r 95% CI I2k N r 95% CI I2
Lower Upper Lower Upper
Ideal L2 self 32 30,572 .611 .562 .655 97.21% 13 3,551 .202 .084 .315 90.76%
Sensitivity .170 .046 .289 91.15%
Corrected .611 .562 .655 97.21% .103ns -.013 .218 93.70%
Ought-to L2 self 19 18,542 .379 .315 .440 94.21% 10 2,452 -.048ns -.107 .011 41.29%ns
Sensitivity -.040ns -.107 .027 51.88%
Corrected .379 .315 .440 94.21% -.048ns -.107 .011 41.29%ns
L2 learning exp 18 19,586 .656 .590 .712 97.71% 7 1,369 .174 .026 .315 85.95%
Sensitivity .137ns -.040 .306 89.35%
Corrected .656 .590 .712 97.71% .111ns -.029 .247 89.07%
Achievement 7 2,016 .116ns -.121 .341 96.02%
Corrected .116ns -.121 .341 96.02%
Note. Exp = experience, ns = non-significant. Sensitivity analysis excluded two reports (n = 171 total).
Ali H. Al-Hoorie
The three components of the L2MSS had positive correlations with in-
tended effort, but dropped with achievement. There was also no overlap in the
confidence intervals of each component’s correlations with intended effort and
with achievement, indicating that the coefficients are significantly different from
each other. These findings might be used to explain some conflicting results in
the literature: Researchers who used subjective measures found stronger sup-
port for the L2MSS than those who used objective measures. Furthermore, the
correlation between intended effort and achievement was weak and non-signif-
icant, indicating that these two outcome measures cannot be used interchange-
ably. A stark illustration of this is found in the ought-to L2 self, where its corre-
lation with Intended effort was positive and moderate in magnitude (.38), but
reversed its sign with achievement (-.05). These findings point to the need to
diversify outcome measures in the L2 motivation field to obtain a more compre-
hensive picture, rather than relying exclusively on intended effort.
The I2 values in Table 1 indicated that there was a wide and significant heter-
ogeneity in most correlations. That is, with the exception of the one between the
ought-to L2 self and achievement (which is non-significant), all other correlations ex-
hibited heterogeneity in excess of 85% and higher. Some confidence intervals were
also somewhat large, especially for the correlations between achievement and each
of the ideal L2 self and the L2 learning experience. Such heterogeneity is to be ex-
pected since these studies were conducted in different parts of the world by differ-
ent researchers working independently rather than adhering strictly to certain re-
search protocols. Potential moderators might help explain this heterogeneity in fu-
ture meta-analytic research when a sufficient pool of studies becomes available.
When it comes to sensitivity analysis, the two reports that were excluded
for not reporting scale reliability happened to involve correlations with achieve-
ment only. The results after excluding these two reports are found in the ‘sensi-
tivity’ rows in Table 1. The three correlations with achievement exhibited a mi-
nor drop, with that of the L2 Learning experience becoming no longer signifi-
cant. When it comes to publication bias, adjusted values are reported in the
‘corrected’ rows in the table. Two correlations dropped to non-significance due
to publication bias correction: the correlation between achievement and each
of the ideal L2 self and the L2 learning experience. These two cases had rela-
tively low sample sizes, suggesting a larger sample of studies utilizing objective
measures is needed to obtain a more robust finding. It may also potentially sug-
gest that there are further reports that show non-significant results but that
could not be uncovered by the literature search of this study, despite the rela-
tively generous inclusion criteria adopted (by including unpublished reports and
book chapters) and a call for papers circulated widely in the field. Figure 1 pre-
sents a visual illustration of publication bias in the case of the ideal L2 self.
The L2 motivational self system: A meta-analysis
One surprising finding in Table 1 is the unusually high correlations of intended
effort with the L2 learning experience. According to Dörnyei (2007), “if two tests
correlate with each other in the order of 0.6, we can say that they measure more
or less the same thing” (p. 223). While this may not be a hard-and-fast rule, the
high correlations in Table 1 do raise discriminant validity concerns. This part of
the analysis was therefore rerun to compare studies that examined the factorial
structure of their scales (whether using classical test theory or item response
theory) with those that did not.
The results in Table 2 indeed provide evidence that the high correlation
between the L2 learning experience and intended effort may be a methodolog-
ical artifact of not applying a factor-analytic procedure. The correlation between
these two variables showed a significant drop from .68 to .41. A cursory look at
the items used in studies that did not examine the factorial structure of their
scales also showed considerable overlap. For example, one report used these two
items: “Learning English is one of the most important aspects in my life” and “It is
extremely important for me to learn English.” Despite the close similarity of these
two items, the former was used to measure attitudes toward learning English
while the former intended effort. It is highly unlikely that these two items belong
to two different latent variables. Unsurprisingly, that study reported a correla-
tion of .91 between them for university majors, indicating that it may not be
meaningful to distinguish between these two scales.
Table 2 Correlations between the three L2MSS components and intended effort
for studies that applied a factor-analytic procedure and studies that did not
Intended effort
k N r 95% CI Q p
Lower Upper
Ideal L2 self
With factor analysis 10 10,053 .548 .447 .636 2.695 .101
Without factor analysis 22 18,640 .637 .579 .689
Ought-to L2 self
With factor analysis 3 2,369 .378 .205 .528 < 0.001 .997
Without factor analysis 16 14,294 .378 .302 .449
L2 learning exp
With factor analysis 2 671 .408 .135 .624 6.051 .014
Without factor analysis 16 17,394 .680 .619 .733
Note. A few studies reported ambiguous analyses (k = 2) and were therefore excluded.
Exp = experience, ns = non-significant
Ali H. Al-Hoorie
Figure 1 Funnel plot showing the relationship between the ideal L2 self and
7. Discussion
The present meta-analysis has revealed a number of trends. One is that, perhaps
for convenience, there is an abundance of research using intended effort as the
primary criterion variable in recent language motivation research. On the other
hand, there is a shortage of other outcome variables, resulting in an incomplete
picture in the literature – especially since there was hardly any relationship be-
tween intended effort and other objective measures (r = .12). Future research
should attempt to draw from more diverse criterion measures in the hope of
shedding more light on the multifaceted nature of motivation.
Another trend in recent literature is the lack of sufficient attention to im-
portant learner characteristics. More specifically, the present meta-analysis
could not examine the effect of age, gender, or context. As for age, although
older learners tend to be more accessible to researchers, it is possible that the
dynamics of motivation is different at different ages (Kormos & Csizér, 2008).
What motivates a 7-year-old might not motivate a 17-year-old (Nikolov, 1999).
As for gender, it is often taken for granted that females exhibit higher motivation
than males (You et al., 2016). However, systematic research to test this assump-
tion is lacking, let alone attempting to explain it. As for context, the vast majority of
recent motivation research has been conducted in foreign language contexts. This
is in stark contrast to the social-psychological era, during which research in second
language contexts was dominant (Al-Hoorie, 2017b). Hence, little is currently known
-2.0 -1.5 -1.0 -0.5 0.0 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0
Precision (1/Std Err)
Fisher's Z
Funnel Plot of Precision by Fisher's Z
The L2 motivational self system: A meta-analysis
about the applicability of self-guides to second language contexts (see also Dörnyei
& Ushioda, 2009a, pp. 352-353, for a similar argument).
A further trend is the dominance of English as the target language in recent
research. English is indeed the global language and the most commonly taught
nowadays. However, its global status may make the motivation to learn it distinct
from the motivation to learn other languages (Dörnyei & Al-Hoorie, 2017). For
example, a decision to learn a language like Danish or German typically needs to
be accompanied by strong or personal reasons, especially when the aim is to
achieve high proficiency. Learning English, in contrast, hardly needs a justification.
This suggests a qualitative difference in the motivation to learn English versus the
motivation to learn other languages. If this is the case, then the emphasis on Eng-
lish in recent literature risks deriving an incomplete theory of language learning
motivation. This is an especially challenging task since the study of non-English
languages is a rather complex subject. Non-English languages fall on different va-
rieties such as minority, heritage, indigenous, and endangered languages, each
with its unique set of contextual factors and conditions (Duff, 2017).
The following sections discuss the results of the present meta-analysis in
relation to self-guides, the L2 learning experience, and intended effort. Limita-
tions of this study are then highlighted.
7.1. Self-guides
In terms of the ideal L2 self, the results of the present meta-analysis showed
that it correlated at .61 with intended effort and at .20 with achievement. In
other words, the ideal L2 self accounts for around 37.2% of the variance in in-
tended effort, but only about 4.1% in achievement. These results may help ex-
plain the conflicting findings in the literature: Studies relying on intended effort
found strong support for the predictive validity of the ideal L2 self, while those
drawing from other objective measures were less supportive.
Recently, Plonsky and Oswald (2014) have offered recommendations for
field-specific benchmarks for interpreting the size of correlation coefficients: .25
small, .40 medium, and .60 large. If we follow these recommendations, the ideal
L2 self is a strong predictor of intended effort, but approaching the small thresh-
old in achievement. The relationship between the ideal L2 self and achievement
is also smaller than the expected correlation between attitudes and behavior in
social psychology (r = .38, Kraus, 1995). It is also smaller than the magnitude
that aptitude (r = .49, Li, 2016) and intelligence (r = .54, Roth et al., 2015) explain
in academic achievement, two established individual difference variables.
Given this modest magnitude, readers may wonder about the extent to
which motivation contributes to language learning relative to the two classical
Ali H. Al-Hoorie
individual difference variables, intelligence and aptitude. Nevertheless, there
seem to be a number of means to improve the predictive validity of the ideal L2
self when it comes to actual language achievement. First of all, the original con-
ceptualization of the L2MSS comes with a set of conditions that, if not satisfied,
self-guides are not expected to exhibit full power (Dörnyei, 2009). These condi-
tions include the availability of the different self-guides, their vividness, plausi-
bility, harmony, and activation, as well as having procedural strategies and being
offset by a feared self. Although these conditions were proposed together with
the inception of the theory itself, they have remained largely untested and
hardly any attempts have been made to incorporate them into how self-guides
are currently measured (Hessel, 2015).
Another potential direction is the incorporation of discrepancy. By defini-
tion, self-guides are not absolute constructs but relational to a future state. The
hypothesized effect of the ideal L2 self, for example, resides in the discrepancy
between a current state and a desired future state, not the future state per se.
Unfortunately, this discrepancy is not currently featured in how self-guides are
measured (Thorsen, Henry, & Cliffordson, 2017). The standard scale items used
to measure the ideal L2 self are in the form of ‘I can imagine myself…’, which is
admittedly ambiguous. As an illustration, if a learner cannot imagine herself mas-
tering English someday, this could additionally mean that she does not believe she
can do that (self-efficacy), that she does not want to do that (value of the activity),
that she experiences a complete absence of motivation (amotivation), that she
does not need to do that (e.g., she has already mastered English), or any other
interpretations different learners might conjure up. Due to this ambiguity, it might
be appropriate to relabel the standard ideal L2 self scale to the imagined self, and
reserve the ideal L2 self label to an improved measure that can accommodate a
current–future discrepancy that the L2MSS requires by definition.
A measure that can accommodate a current–future discrepancy does not
have to be a close-ended questionnaire scale. In fact, self-discrepancy is not con-
ceptualized as a conscious construct that the individual can readily self-report
(Higgins, 1987). For this reason, Higgins (1987) criticized a study by Hoge and
McCarthy (1983) for using experimenter-selected attributes and asking their
participants about their discrepancies directly, describing this type of measure
as nonideographic. An ideographic measure, in contrast, requires that the par-
ticipant is the one who supplies attributes related to, say, their actual self and
their ideal self separately. It is then the researcher’s job to code these attributes
in order to determine ‘matches’ and ‘mismatches’ between actual and ideal
selves. The results may show that one participant has a large number of matches
(i.e., little discrepancy), another with mostly mismatches (much discrepancy), and
yet another with neither matches or mismatches (no relevance of discrepancy).
The L2 motivational self system: A meta-analysis
This approach has not been utilized in the language motivation field to date.
Another approach that does not rely on close-ended questionnaires draws from
reaction-time measures (e.g., Higgins, Shah, & Friedman, 1997; Shah & Higgins,
2001). The premise behind this approach is that higher accessibility leads to
more efficient approach and avoidance tendencies unconsciously. Our field is
yet to exploit the full potential of reaction-time measures to study unconscious
aspects of motivation (Al-Hoorie, 2016a, 2016b, in press).
In terms of the ought-to L2 self, its predictive validity was markedly lower than
that of the ideal L2 self in relation to both intended effort and achievement. As ex-
plained above, the wanting nature of the ought-to L2 self has already been pointed
out by a number of scholars who recommended improvements. However, instead of
leaving this construct behind in favor of newer constructs, it would be useful to at-
tempt to understand why its theoretically anticipated effect has not been borne out.
One possible explanation is that the ought-to L2 self is – by definition (see
rnyei, 2009, p. 29) – concerned only with the less internalized forms of mo-
tives. It pertains to someone else’s expectations, rather than one’s own ideals,
and primarily functions in a preventive fashion. That is, since ought self-guides
represent “minimal goals” (Higgins, 1998, p. 5) that are “imposed” (Dörnyei,
2009, p. 32) by one’s peers, parents and authoritative figures, then learners may
simply aim to achieve the minimum required to satisfy another person’s desires,
rather than fulfilling them more thoroughly as one might do with one’s own
ideals. Such minimal goals are less likely to sustain engagement in learning and
enthusiasm about it in the long run. A similar picture emerges from possible
selves theory. Markus and Nurius (1986) actually downplay the role of others in
the formation of one’s own possible selves. In their words, “others’ perceptions
of an individual are unlikely to reflect or to take into account possible selves” (p.
964). Markus and Nurius then point out that, “when we perceive another per-
son, or another perceives us, this aspect of perception, under most conditions,
is simply not evident and typically there is little concern with it” (p. 964). A sim-
ilar picture emerges, again, from self-determination theory (Deci & Ryan, 2002),
in which the less internalized forms of extrinsic motivation seem to be associated
negatively with L2 achievement, but the more internalized forms are associated
positively with it (e.g., Wang, 2008). Indeed, Mackay (2014, p. 394) reports that
some of her interviewees construed external pressures to learn the language as a
demotivating factor. All of this points to the need to reconsider the original con-
ceptualization of the ought-to L2 self construct as a motivational factor, an as-
sumption held in the field for more than a decade. It might be more appropriately
conceived of, at least in some contexts, as a demotivating variable instead.
Another possible explanation is that current measurement practice does
not distinguish between own-other standpoints in self-guides (Lanvers, 2016;
Ali H. Al-Hoorie
Teimouri, 2017; Thompson & Vásquez, 2015). However, before treading this path,
a number of conceptual issues need to be addressed. First, introducing stand-
points may make the different self-guides less clear-cut. That is, where do we
draw the line between an ideal-own and ought-own, and between ideal-other
and ought-other (see Dörnyei, 2009, pp. 13-14, for a similar argument). Second,
as Dörnyei and Ushioda (2009a, p. 352) point out, degrees of internalization are
inherent to self-determination theory. When degrees of internalization are used
to justify the different self-guides (e.g., ideal-own versus ideal-other), theorists
need to consider in what respects this new formulation is more than self-deter-
mination theory cast in self terminology. This is a crucial consideration since it
is desirable to avoid a situation where different researchers within one field deal
with more or less the same phenomena but independently due to different ter-
minology (Dörnyei & Ryan, 2015).
A further consideration pertains to the proliferation of ‘selves’ witnessed
in the field today. Some scholars (MacIntyre & Mackinnon, 2007; MacIntyre,
Mackinnon, & Clément, 2009) argue that these selves are hardly more than
mere metaphors, risking unnecessary redundancy and conceptual clutter. For
example, MacIntyre and Mackinnon (2007) list over 60 self-related constructs in
psychology, leading them to argue that “the multitude of overlapping concepts
in the literature on the self is more confusing than integrativeness ever could
be” (MacIntyre et al., 2009, p. 54). Just like psychology, the language motivation
field is witnessing more and more selves being introduced, including anti-ought-
to, rebellious, imposed, bilingual, multilingual, private, public, possible, and
probable selves, but without sufficient attention to their construct validity or
their overlap. In fact, it has become fashionable to introduce a new construct
and suffix it with a ‘self’ even when existing constructs seem to exist (e.g., anti-
ought-to self versus reactance, and feared L2 self versus fear of failure). Adding
a new dimension to an existing construct (e.g., L2 reactance) may be more ap-
propriate than introducing yet another ‘self’. As Albert Bandura cautions,
a theory cast in terms of multiple selves plunges one into deep philosophical waters. It
requires a regress of selves to a presiding superordinate self that selects and manages
the collection of possible selves to suit given purposes. Actually, there is only one self
that can visualize different desired and undesired futures and select courses of action
designed to attain cherished futures and escape feared ones. (Bandura, 1997, p. 26)
7.2. The L2 learning experience
As reviewed above, the L2 learning experience has been described as the strong-
est predictor of intended effort. However, the results of the present meta-anal-
ysis suggest that the high correlation between the L2 learning experience and
The L2 motivational self system: A meta-analysis
intended effort may partly be an artifact of not implementing a factor-analytic
procedure. A cursory look at the literature suggests that the importance of ex-
amining the factorial structure of scales is not appreciated. Researchers, review-
ers, and editors seem satisfied with a quick Cronbach analysis showing a relia-
bility of around .70. However, reliability assumes that the scale is already unidi-
mensional, and when it is not, reliability can be artificially inflated (see Al-Hoorie
& Vitta, in press; Green, Lissitz, & Mulaik, 1977; Sijtsma, 2009). Based on the
present results, it is recommended that researchers routinely present the re-
sults of a factor analytic procedure (whether from classical test theory or item
response theory) to establish convergent and discriminant validity among their
scales, along with their reliabilities.
In contrast to its correlation with intended effort, the L2 learning experi-
ence had a modest correlation with achievement (r = .17). This suggests that, to
date, the small number of studies that have examined the correlation between
this variable and achievement do not support a strong association. Further-
more, little theoretical analysis is available to explain why this association should
be causal in the first place (Ushioda, 2011), especially since virtually all studies
included in the present meta-analysis were observational. Neither is this modest
association totally inconsistent with experimental studies (on non-L2 learning)
that do not support a causal relationship between student evaluation of the
course and educational outcomes (Arbuckle & Williams, 2003; Boring, 2015;
Braga et al., 2014; Carrell & West, 2010; MacNell et al., 2015). Having a positive
attitude toward the course and its teacher may not necessarily imply better
learning, even if the learner believes so. Indeed, it is not an unusual experience
for a learner to get the ‘impression’ that they have mastered the subject, but to
subsequently realize from a test that there were significant gaps in their
knowledge. This misleading impression of mastery may be attributed to differ-
ent reasons, including a teacher with a charismatic personality or simply an en-
tertaining approach (see Al-Hoorie, 2017a, for a more detailed review).
Evidence of this misleading impression has been demonstrated graph-
ically in a classic experiment titled ‘The Doctor Fox Lecture: A paradigm of edu-
cational seduction’ (Naftulin, Ware, & Donnelly, 1973). These researchers re-
cruited a professional actor to give a lecture about game theory (a subject he
knew nothing about). The actor was given a fake name, Dr. Myron L. Fox, and
was introduced to the unsuspecting audience as an expert in the application of
mathematics to human behavior. Drawing from his acting skills, the actor pep-
pered his lecture with some humor as well as meaningless, conflicting, and ir-
relevant information. At the same time, he sounded authoritative and exhibited
a charismatic personality. Despite the empty content of the lecture, the audi-
ence reported having enjoyed the lecture and even learned from it (in fact, one
Ali H. Al-Hoorie
person even reported that s/he had read some of the speaker’s publications!).
We can confidently argue that, despite this favorable impression, no learning or
any knowledge transmission about game theory occurred during that lecture.
Dr. Fox’ simply did not know the material. The feeling of having learned from
the lecture is little more than a misattribution. The audience simply enjoyed the
charismatic and authoritative personality of lecturer, but then misattributed this
enjoyment to the informativeness of the lecture. Naftulin et al. (1973) conclude
that “student satisfaction with learning may represent little more than the illu-
sion of having learned” (p. 630). This is now known as the Dr. Fox effect.2
These results point to the urgent need for experimental studies in the lan-
guage motivation field for testing causal assumptions. One reason for the paucity
of experiments has to do with the numerous practical and logistic considerations
involved (see, e.g., Csizér & Magid, 2014, Part 4). Still, language motivation re-
searchers could take their cues from other SLA areas where experiments are very
common. When it comes to instructional effects, for example, Plonsky (2013) re-
ports that experimental studies are about twice more common in classroom re-
search than are observational studies. Experimental studies are also needed to ex-
amine pedagogical implications derived from observational studies (e.g., Dörnyei
& Kubanyiova, 2014; Hadfield & Dörnyei, 2013). It is not unimaginable that some
of these rec omme ndations might turn out premature. If some implicati ons d o turn
out to be premature, this could ultimately undermine the field’s credibility.
7.3. Intended effort
In the L2MSS tradition, self-reported intended effort has been frequently called
the criterion measure (sometimes with capital C and M). Although any outcome
can be described as a criterion measure (since it simply refers to the dependent
variable), the convention of calling intended effort as the criterion measure is
nowadays seen everywhere in research reports – from scale descriptions, through
results tables, to structural equation models. Another euphemism is ‘motivated
behavior’. In reality, however, this scale typically refers to intended effort rather
than observation of actual behavior.
Still, a subjective measure is not necessarily less valid. The use of a sub-
jective measure could provide unique insights that more objective measures
might not capture. Nevertheless, there are at least two important considera-
tions to take into account with regard to this scale. First, the items in this scale
2 In the original experiment, Naftulin et al. videotaped the lecture by Dr. Fox. Some of its foot-
age is now available on YouTube: (accessed 28
September 2017).
The L2 motivational self system: A meta-analysis
tend to be generic, while generic intentions are less likely to translate into behav-
ior (Fishbein & Ajzen, 2010). This is especially because conscious thought suffers
from substantial blind spots when it comes to predicting how one will actually be-
have (see Al-Hoorie, 2015, 2016a, 2016b, 2017b, for a more detailed discussion).
Following Wolters and Taylor (2012), intended effort could be made more specific
by recognizing the different ‘dimensions’ of motivated behavior. In one dimen-
sion, some activities reflect behavioral engagement while others reflect academic
engagement. Behavioral engagement includes class participation and other overt
behavioral effort. Academic engagement, on the other hand, refers to time spent
on learning tasks and amount of assignments completed. Although both consti-
tute ‘effort’, the latter reflects more quality engagement. A second dimension of
effort is whether it is universal and optional. Universal engagement refers to the
activities that all students are expected to engage in, such as attending class and
doing homework. In contrast, optional engagement refers to going beyond the
expected of the typical student, by showing initiative and volunteering for rele-
vant extracurricular activities. A third dimension is the need to consider engage-
ment in adaptive versus maladaptive forms of behavior. A learner may engage in
adaptive learning behaviors, but might at the same time also engage in other mal-
adaptive behaviors (e.g., procrastination, defensive pessimism, and other forms
of self-handicapping). Focusing on adaptive behaviors only might miss important
pieces from the overall picture. A final dimension is the need to consider agentic
versus non-agentic behavior. Effort expended by the learner that is planful and
purposeful should count as more than the effort that merely reflects norm follow-
ing. “Students coerced to finish worksheets using specific tactics rigidly dictated
by a teacher may appear cognitively and behaviorally engaged” (Wolters & Taylor,
2012, p. 645) but not necessarily actually motivated. Adopting such level of spec-
ificity would likely enrich our perspective on learning motivation and open up in-
teresting directions for future research.
Second, the use of intended effort leads a conceptual difficulty. Theoreti-
cal clarity requires observing “the motivation behavior outcome chain”
(Dörnyei, 2005, p. 73) because “If we want to draw more meaningful inferences
about the impact of various motives, it is more appropriate to use some sort of
abehavioural measure as the criterion/dependent variable” (Dörnyei & Ushioda,
2011, p. 200, original emphasis). Intended effort does not seem to qualify as
representative of the ‘behavior’ piece of the chain – until it is actually per-
formed. This is why, in his review of the L2MSS, Gardner (2010) maintains that
“they relate one measure based on verbal report to another measure based on
verbal report” (p. 73). A theoretical justification for the use of intended effort as
an outcome measure is needed to clarify what we can learn from this construct
and in which contexts.
Ali H. Al-Hoorie
8. Limitations and conclusion
Because this is the first meta-analysis of the L2MSS, the present study inevitably
has a number of limitations. The number of studies using a criterion measure
other than intended effort is relatively small. This small number resulted in rel-
atively wide confidence intervals, and further showed evidence of publication
bias. This small sample also led to a pragmatic decision to combine all objective
measures into one group. However, it is not implausible that different outcome
measures would exhibit different results (e.g., end-of-year grades versus re-
searcher-administered tests).
Therefore, the present meta-analysis must be considered a meta-analysis-
in-progress and be updated once a sufficient number of studies using different
outcome measures become available. Although a number of studies were ex-
cluded for not reporting correlation results, most of these studies followed the
general trend of relying on intended effort rather than other outcome measures.
The same applies to potential moderators, including age, gender, context, and
target language (see also Ellis, 2006).
The results also draw attention to the urgent need for experimental studies
in the language motivation field. For historical reasons, our field has relied heavily
on observational questionnaire-based research designs. At the same time, many
arguments in the field have causal implications, and even pedagogical recommen-
dations for classroom teachers. In fact, making a list of pedagogical implications
has become a default expectation from researchers (and graduate students), even
when their research is observational. Without experimental research to support
such pedagogical recommendations, this practice may be at best misleading, and
at worst damaging to the field. However, overcoming the various logistics involved
in conducting experimental research – whether inside or outside the classroom –
would eventually lead to a science that is more instructive to classroom practice
and to language learning in general.
I would like to thank Robert Gardner, Zoltán Dörnyei, Richard Clement, Peter
MacIntyre, Diane Larsen-Freeman, Kim Noels, Sarah Mercer, Martin Lamb,
Alastair Henry, Saadat Saeed, Neil McClelland, Luke Plonsky, and two anony-
mous reviewers for their comments on an earlier draft. I would also like to thank
Phil Hiver and Joe Vitta for their assistance in data coding.
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List of studies included in the meta-analysis
Al Qahtani, A. F. A. (2015). Relationships between intercultural contact and L2 motivation for
a group of undergraduate Saudi students during their first year in the UK. Un-
published doctoral dissertation, University of Leeds, UK.
Al-Hoorie, A. H. (2016). Unconscious motivation. Part II: Implicit attitudes and L2 achieve-
ment. Studies in Second Language Learning and Teaching, 6, 619-649.
Alshahrani, A. A. S. (2016). L2 Motivational self system among Arab EFL learners: Saudi pre-
spective. International Journal of Applied Linguistics and English Literature,5, 145-152.
Al-Shehri, A. S. (2009). Motivation and vision: The relation between the ideal L2 self, imagi-
nation and visual style. In Z. Dörnyei & E. Ushioda (Eds.), Motivation, language iden-
tity and the L2 self (pp. 164-171). Bristol, UK: Multilingual Matters.
Asker, A. (2011). Future self-guides and language learning engagement of English-major second-
ary school students in Libya: Understanding the interplay between possible selves and the
L2 learning situation. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Birmingham, UK.
Busse, V. (2013). An exploration of motivation and self-beliefs of first year students of Ger-
man. System, 41(2), 379-398.
Calvo, E. T. (2015). Language learning motivation: The L2 motivational self system and its
relationship with learning achievement. Unpublished MA dissertation, University of
Barcelona, Spain.
Dörnyei, Z., & Chan, L. (2013). Motivation and vision: An analysis of future L2 self images,
sensory styles, and imagery capacity across two target languages. Language Learn-
ing, 63, 437-462.
Eid, J. (2008). Determining the relationship between visual style, imagination, the L2 Moti-
vational self system and the motivation to learn English, French and Italian. Un-
published MA dissertation, University of Nottingham, UK.
Ghanizadeh, A., Eishabadi, N., & Rostami, S. (2016). Motivational dimension of willingness to
communicate in L2: The impacts of criterion measure, ideal L2 self, family influence, and
attitudes to L2 culture. International Journal of Research Studies in Education, 5, 13-24.
Ghanizadeh, A., & Rostami, S. (2015). A Dörnyei-inspired study on second language motiva-
tion: A cross-comparison analysis in public and private contexts. Psychological Stud-
ies, 60, 292-301.
Huang, H-T., & Chen, I-L. (2016). L2 selves in motivation to learn English as a foreign language:
The case of Taiwanese adolescents. In M. T. Apple, D. Da Silva & T. Fellner (Eds.), L2 selves
and motivations in Asian contexts (pp. 51-69). Bristol, UK: Multilingual Matters.
Islam, M., Lamb, M., & Chambers, G. (2013). The L2 motivational self system and national
interest: A Pakistani perspective. System, 41, 231-244.
Iwaniec, J. (2014). Motivation to learn English of Polish gymnasium pupils. Unpublished doc-
toral dissertation, University of Lancaster, UK.
Jiang, Y. (2013). Gender differences and the development of L2 English learners’ L2 motiva-
tional self system and international posture in China. Unpublished doctoral disserta-
tion, Birkbeck, University of London, UK.
The L2 motivational self system: A meta-analysis
Khany, R., & Amiri, M. (2016). Action control, L2 motivational self system, and motivated
learning behavior in a foreign language learning context. European Journal of Psy-
chology of Education, 1-17.
Kim, Y.-K., & Kim, T.-Y. (2011). The effect of Korean secondary school students’ perceptual
learning styles and ideal L2 self on motivated L2 behavior and English proficiency.
Korean Journal of English Language and Linguistics, 11, 21-42.
Kim, T.-Y., & Kim, Y.-K. (2014). A structural model for perceptual learning styles, the ideal L2
self, motivated behavior, and English proficiency. System, 46, 14-27.
Lake, J. (2013). Positive L2 self: Linking positive psychology with L2 motivation. In M. T. Ap-
ple, D. Da Silva & T. Fellner (Eds.), Language learning motivation in Japan (pp. 225-
244). Bristol, UK: Multilingual Matters.
Lamb, M. (2012). A self system perspective on young adolescents’ motivation to learn Eng-
lish in urban and rural settings. Language Learning, 62, 997-1023.
Lasagabaster, D. (2016). The relationship between motivation, gender, L1 and possible selves
in English-medium instruction. International Journal of Multilingualism, 13, 315-332.
Moskovsky, C., Assulaimani, T., Racheva, S., & Harkins, J. (2016). The L2 motivational self
system and L2 achievement: A study of Saudi E FL learners. Modern Language Journal,
100, 641-654.
Papi, M. (2010). The L2 motivational self system, L2 anxiety, and motivated behavior: A struc-
tural equation modeling approach. System, 38(3), 467-479.
Papi, M., & Abdollahzadeh, E. (2012). Teacher motivational practice, student motivation, and pos-
sible L2 selves: An examination in the Iranian EFL context. Language Learning, 62, 571-594.
Polat, N. (2014). The interaction of the L2 Motivational self system with socialisation and iden-
tification patterns and L2 accent attainment. In K. Csizér & M. Magid (Eds.), The impact
of self-concept on language learning (pp. 268-285). Bristol, UK: Multilingual Matters.
Ryan, S. (2009). Self and identity in L2 motivation in Japan: The ideal L2 self and Japanese
learners of English. In Z. Dörnyei & E. Ushioda (Eds.), Motivation, language identity
and the L2 self (pp. 120-143). Bristol, UK: Multilingual Matters.
Shahbaz M., & Liu, Y. (2012). Complexity of L2 motivation in an Asian ESL setting. Porta Lin-
guarum, 18, 115-131.
Taguchi, T., Magid, M., & Papi, M. (2009). The L2 motivational self system among Japanese,
Chinese and Iranian learners of English: A comparative study. In Z. Dörnyei & E. Ush-
ioda (Eds.), Motivation, language identity and the L2 self (pp. 66-97). Bristol, UK: Mul-
tilingual Matters.
Tan, T. G., Lim, T. H., & Hoe, F. T. (2017). Analyzing the relationship between L2 motivational
self system and achievement in Mandarin. International Academic Research Journal
of Social Science,3(1), 104-108.
Yun, S., Hiver, P., & Al-Hoorie, A. H. (in press). Academic buoyancy: Construct validation and
a test of structural relations.Studies in Second Language Acquisition.
Ali H. Al-Hoorie
Characteristics of studies included in the meta-analysis
Study Sample
size Target
language Learner
level Learner
gender Context Criterion
Al Qahtani (2015) 257 English University Mixed M. East Intended effort
Al-Hoorie (2016) 311 English University Male M. East Mixed
Alshahrani (2016) 397 English University Male M. East Intended effort
Al-Shehri (2009) 200 English Mixed Mixed M. East Intend ed effort
Asker (2011) 126 English Secondary Mixed M. East Intended effort
Busse (2013) 94 German University Mixed Europe Intended effort
Calvo (2015) 29 English Secondary Mixed Europe Grades
Dörnyei & Chan (2013) 172 Mixed Secondary Mixed Asia Mixed
Eid (2011) 93 Mixed Secondary Mixed Europe Mixed
Ghanizadeh et al. (2016) 160 English University Mixed M. East Intend ed effort
Ghanizadeh & Rostami (2015) 905 English Mixed Mixed M. East Intended effort
Huang & Chen (2016) 1,698 English Secondary Mixed Asia Intended effort
Islam et al. (2013) 975 English University Mixed M. East Inten ded effort
Iwaniec (2014) 236 English Secondary Mixed Europe Intended effort
Jiang (2013) 240 English University Mixed Asia Intended effort
Khani & Amiri (2016) 510 English Secondary Mixed M. East Intended effort
Kim & Kim (2011) 495 English Secondary Mixed Asia Intend ed effort
Kim & Kim (2014) 2,239 English Secondary Mixed Asia Intend ed effort
Lake (2013) 224 English University Female Asia Mixed
Lamb (2012) 527 English Secondary Mixed Asia Mixed
Lasagabster (2016) 189 English University Mixed Europe Intended effort
Moskovsky et al. (2016) 360 English University Mixed M. East Mixed
Papi (2010) 1,011 English Secondary Mixed M. East Mixed
Papi & Abdollahzadeh (2012) 460 English Secondary Male M. East Behavior
Polat (2014) 88 English Secondary Mixed M. East Pronunciation
Ryan (2009) 2,397 English Mixed Mixed Asia Intended effort
Shahbaz & Liu (2012) 547 English University Mixed M. East Intended effort
Shahbaz & Yongbing (2015) 547 English University Mixed M. East Intend ed effort
Taguchi et al. (2009) 4,891 English Mixed Mixed Mixed Intended effort
Tan et al. (2017) 142 English University Mixed Asia Grades
You & Dornyei (2016) 10,413 English Mixed Mixed Asia Intended effort
Yun et al. (i n press) 787 English University Mixed Asia Grades
The L2 motivational self system: A meta-analysis
List of studies excluded for incomplete reporting of Pearson correlation results
Studies reporting regression coefficients:
Csizér, K., & Lukács, G. (2010). The comparative analysis of motivation, attitudes and selves:
The case of English and German in Hungary. System, 38(1), 1-13.
Khan, M. R. (2015). Analyzing the relationship between L2 motivational selves and L2 achievement:
A Saudi perspective. International Journal of English Language Teaching,2(1), 68-75.
Kim, T.-Y., & Kim, Y.-K. (2014). EFL students’ L2 motivational self system and self-regulation:
Focusing on elementary and junior high school students in Korea. In K. Csizér & M.
Magid (Eds.),The impact of self-concept on language learning(pp. 87-107). Bristol,
UK: Multilingual Matters.
Kormos, J., & Csizér, K. (2008). Age-related differences in the motivation of learning English
as a foreign language: Attitudes, selves, and motivated learning behavior. Language
Learning,58(2), 327-355.
Kormos, J., & Csizér, K. (2010). A comparison of the foreign language learning motivation of
Hungarian dyslexic and non-dyslexic students. International Journal of Applied Lin-
guistics,20(2), 232-250.
Li, Q. (2014). Differences in the motivation of Chinese learners of English in a foreign and
second language context. System,42, 451-461.
Mezei, G. (2014). The effect of motivational strategies on self-related aspects of student moti-
vation and second language l earning. In K. Csizér & M. Magid (Eds.), The impact of self-
concept on language learning (pp. 289-309). Bristol, UK: Multilingual Matters.
Nagle, C. (2014). A longitudinal study on the role of lexical stress and motivation in the per-
ception and production of L2 Spanish stop consonants. Unpublished doctoral disser-
tation, Georgetown University, USA.
Papi, M., & Teimouri, Y. (2013). Dynamics of selves and motivation: A cross-sectional study
in the EFL context of Iran. International Journal of Applied Linguistics,22(3), 287-309.
Polat, N., & Schallert, D. L. (2013). Kurdish adolescents acquiring Turkish: Their self-deter-
mined motivation and identification with L1 and L2 communities as predictors of L2
accent attainment. The Modern Language Journal,97(3), 745-763.
Sugita McEown, M., Noels, K. A., & Chaffee, K. E. (2014). At the interface of the Socio-Edu-
cational Model, Self-Determination Theory and the L2 Motivational self system mod-
els. In K. Csizér & M. Magid (Eds.),The impact of self-concept on language learning
(pp. 19-50). Bristol, UK: Multilingual Matters.
Teimouri, Y. (2017). L2 selves, emotions, and motivated behaviors. Studies in Second Lan-
guage Acquisition, 39(4), 681-709.
Xie, Y. (2014). L2 self of beginning-level heritage and nonheritage postsecondary learners of
Chinese. Foreign Language Annals,47(1), 189-203.
Studies reporting SEM path coefficients:
Aubrey, S. (2014). Development of the L2 Motivational self system: English at a university in
Japan. JALT Journal,36(2), 153-174.
Ali H. Al-Hoorie
Aubrey, S., & Nowlan, G. P. (2013). Effect of intercultural contact on L2 motivation: A com-
parative study. In M. T. Apple, D. Da Silva & T. Fellner (Eds.), L2 selves and motivations
in Asian contexts (pp. 129-151). Bristol, UK: Multilingual Matters.
Csizér, K., & Kormos, J. (2009). Learning experiences, selves and motivated learning behav-
iour: A comparative analysis of structural models for Hungarian secondary and uni-
versity learners of English. In Z. Dörnyei & E. Ushioda (Eds.), Motivation, language
identity and the L2 self (pp. 98-119). Bristol, UK: Multilingual Matters.
Gu, M., & Cheung, D. S. (2016). Ideal L2 self, acculturation, and Chinese language learning
among South Asian students in Hong Kong: A structural equation modelling analysis.
System,57, 14-24.
Kormos, J., & Csizér, K. (2014). The interaction of motivation, self-regulatory strategies, and au-
tonomous learning behavior in different learner groups. TESOL Quarterly,48, 275-299.
Kormos, J., Kiddle, T., & Csizér, K. (2011). Goals, attitudes and self-related beliefs in second
language learning motivation: An interactive model of language learning motivation.
Applied Linguistics,32(5), 495-516.
Magid, M. (2011). A validation and application of the L2 Motivational self system among Chinese
learners of English. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Nottingham, UK.
Munezane, Y. (2016). Motivation, ideal self and willingness to communicate as the predic-
tors of observed L2 use in the classroom.EUROSLA Yearbook,16, 85-115.
Taguchi, T. (2013). Motivation, attitudes and selves in the Japanese context: A mixed meth-
ods approach. In M. T. Apple, D. Da Silva & T. Fellner (Eds.), L2 selves and motivations
in Asian contexts (pp. 169-188). Bristol, UK: Multilingual Matters.
Ueki, M., & Takeuchi, O. (2013). Forming a clearer image of the ideal L2 self: The L2 Motiva-
tional self system and learner autonomy in a Japanese EFL context.Innovation in Lan-
guage Learning and Teaching,7(3), 238-252.
Visgatis, B. L. (2014) English-related out-of-class time use by Japanese university students.
Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Temple University, USA.
Studies reporting chi-square and Kendall’s tau, respectively:
Georgiadou, E. S. (2016). The role of proficiency, speaking habits and error-tolerance in the self-
repair behaviour of Emirati EFL learners. The Asian EFL Journal Quarterly,18(4), 104-126.
Kim, T.-Y. (2009). Korean elementary school students’ perceptual learning style, ideal L2 self, and
motivated behavior. Korean Journal of English Language and Linguistics, 9(3), 461-486.
... Indeed, Moskovsky et al. (2016) found that in the context of Saudi learners, the ideal L2 self was actually a negative predictor of achievement. In a meta-analysis of 32 research reports, Al-Hoorie (2018) came to the conclusion that all three components of the L2MSS were strong predictors of motivational effort, but weak predictors of actual achievement. ...
... subjective self-report) measures of SDT constructs. This not only parallels the widespread use of such measures in general, non-language learning SDT research, it dovetails with the data collection procedures reviewed earlier indicating that 95.5% of studies in the pool relied on survey or questionnaire data elicitation methods (see also Al-Hoorie, 2018). Related to psychometric testing of instruments, 52 studies (46.8%) reported tests of validity or reliability, while 56 studies (50.4%) did not report having conducted any such tests. ...
Full-text available
Self-determination theory is one of the most established motivational theories both within second language learning and beyond. This theory has generated several mini-theories, namely: organismic integration theory, cognitive evaluation theory, basic psychological needs theory, goal contents theory, causality orientations theory, and relationships motivation theory. After providing an up-to-date account of these mini-theories, we present the results of a systematic review of empirical second language research into self-determination theory over a 30-year period (k = 111). Our analysis of studies in this report pool showed that some mini-theories were well-represented while others were underrepresented or absent from the literature. We also examined this report pool to note trends in research design, operationalization, measurement, and application of self-determination theory constructs. Based on our results, we highlight directions for future research in relation to theory and practice.
... In fact, the main focus was on learner motivation because Garden was interested to find out how people learn second languages. Dörnyei (2005) also designed the motivational self-system of L2 learning where he included three important elements: the ideal L2 self, ought-to L2 self, and L2 learning experience (Al-Hoorie, 2018). Also, the Self-Determination Theory of Deci and Ryan (1985) is very influential for many studies which dealt with learner motivation. ...
This study aims to examine the type of learner motivation of the students studying foreign languages at South East European University (SEEU) in North Macedonia during their online classes caused by the global Pandemic COVID-19. Both teachers and students of this Institution faced several challenges. In order to be able to reach learning outcomes, the students must be motivated and engaged while attending online lessons. The present study uses two instruments to address the research questions designed; a student questionnaire, Motivation to Learn Online Questionnaire (MLOQ), and a teacher semi-structured interview. Overall, the study results revealed that the participants of the study are more intrinsically motivated than extrinsically. The instructor support was reported to be in a very high level in terms of teacher-students communication, responded to students in a timely manner and providing guidance for the students during online classes. Nevertheless, teachers changed their assessment methods which respond to the students’ needs and tried different instructional techniques to enhance student motivation for learning among which the online quizzes, class discussion and online presentations. The findings of the present study will provide EFL teachers with some new insights and practical ideas for increasing student motivation during online classes.
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Based on the theoretical framework of the L2 Motivational Self System (L2MSS), the present study aims to make a methodological contribution to L2 motivation research. With the application of a novel growth mixture modeling (GMM) technique, the study depicted developmental trajectories of three motivational variables (ideal L2 self, ought-to L2 self, and L2 learning experience) of 176 Chinese tertiary-level students over a period of two semesters. Results showed two to three salient classes with typical developmental patterns for the three motivational variables respectively, with which the study gained fresh insights into the developmental processes of motivation beyond the individual level. Our study further established three main multivariate profiles of motivation characterized by a distinct combination of different motivational variables. The findings extend our understanding of motivational dynamics, providing a nuanced picture of emergent motivational trajectories systemically. Additionally, GMM has shown to be an effective and applicable method for the identification of salient patterns in motivation development, which leads to practical implications.
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Relatively few studies in the field of second language acquisition have undertaken to investigate the interrelationships of constellations of individual difference variables. This is certainly true of how complexes of ID factors impact motivation to learn an additional language. In order to address this gap, the paper reports a study that examined the ways in which enjoyment, anxiety, boredom, L2 grit and self-perceived competence interact with each other and affect motivated learning behaviour in the case of 238 Iranian students majoring in English. The data were collected through an online questionnaire and, following confirmatory factor analysis, were subjected to path analysis. Among other things, the results showed that intended effort was the consequence of a complex interplay of factors, with the combined impact of these factors not always being obvious. It was also revealed that L2 motivation may in some circumstances be positively influenced by academic emotions that are generally considered to have a detrimental effect on L2 learning (i.e. anxiety, boredom).
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This article explores the motivation and engagement of adolescent non-Arab Muslim learners of Arabic (a-MLA) enrolled at Australian Islamic Schools (AIS). To this end, the ‘L2 Motivational Self System’ was used as a theoretical lens. This research gives ‘voice’ to learners and is dialogic, ‘speaking with’ rather than ‘speaking for’ learners in Islamic schools. It also responds to calls for the ‘renewal’ of Islamic Schools in the Western context, including in Australia, through a focus on Arabic learning. A basic interpretive qualitative approach was used, and data were collected from 40 participants using semi-structured interviews. The interviews were supplemented by classroom observations. In keeping with the emphasis placed on learners’ voices, the data presented focus on the students’ own words and perspectives. The findings suggest the presence of predominantly religious orientations to learning Arabic, but that a subset of other orientations also exists. The findings also indicate that several contextual factors can lead to disengagement and that the L2 Motivational Self System might not fully explain the situation of these learners. Nonetheless, these findings can inform the practice of teachers engaged with a-MLA and provide grounds for further research.
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The present study investigates how the L2 learning experience shapes multilinguals' motivation to improve their writing skills in Spanish, a language they study at university level. Within the Second Language Motivational Self System Theory (L2MSS), the L2 learning experience is often neglected when it comes to interpreting and discussing findings on motivation. We propose that the analysis of the L2 learning experience should acknowledge both formal and informal settings, such as the family context, in order to research why and how a person chooses to develop certain linguistic abilities like writing. Given that the L2 learner experience is spatially and temporally bound, the concept of sensitivity to initial conditions, i.e., the conditions or changes that may trigger the learner to move towards enhanced language learning, will be adopted to research the L2 learning experience. The aim of the study is twofold. First, to investigate the Spanish learning experience as a function of the initial conditions referred to by the participants. Second, to research how the Spanish ideal and ought-to selves are related to the students' motivation to use and learn or maintain Spanish skills. The data consist of a questionnaire answered by multilingual university students of Spanish (n=21) and written autobiographical narratives. The participants belong to two groups: one group of Spanish heritage language learners (n=10) and one group of native-Swedish speaking L3 Spanish learners (n=11). Overall, family reasons, previous school experiences, high proficiency in Spanish, previously acquired languages, contact with the linguistic communities, language use and context are all aspects tightly connected to the students' motivation to learn, maintain and develop Spanish language proficiency. The L2 learning experience, as a wider construct dependent on the sensitivity to initial conditions, must be considered to understand the complex nature of multilingual literacy development.
The following research is based on one of the most influential theories in the field of motivation in second language acquisition, the L2 Motivational Self System (Dörnyei, 2005, 2009b). Therefore, the purpose of the present study is to fulfil the following objectives: (1) to analyze the role of study abroad in the development of the Ideal L2 Self of Spanish/L2 students and (2) to examine the factors that interact with motivation throughout the learning process of this language. It is a study that uses a mixed methodology with adult university students of diverse geographical contexts (n=93), Spanish learners in Centro Superior de Idiomas, located in the University of Alicante. The data was obtained by means of a questionnaire with a Likert scale (28 items) and two multimodal narratives. The results place the study abroad experience as a relevant factor that boosts in the students the development of future self-images as learners/speakers of the language, as well as the interaction of various factors that modify students’ motivation. Furthermore, this system has proven to be effective in the analyzed context and, in turn, act as a future self-guide of learners’ motivation over time.
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This paper reports on a study investigating changes in L2 motivation for Japanese learners of English as they completed their first communicative English language course at university. I aim to describe the strength and structure of students’ motivation and the degree to which these changed over one semester. A 36-item questionnaire was used to measure components of the L2 Motivational Self System and International Posture. The questionnaire was administered twice to 202 second-year university students in Japan: during the first week of the semester and 11 weeks later. Structural equation models were created to describe the causal relationships between motivational variables for the two time periods. Paired t tests revealed that both motivated learning behavior and ought-to L2 self significantly increased over the semester. A comparison of the two models indicated that there was a change in the motivational structure from Week 1 to Week 12. 本研究は、英語学習者の動機づけの強さと構造、及びその変化に焦点をあて、日本人大学生の外国語(L2)に対する動機づけの変化を調査した。大学で最初に履修するコミュニケーション英語の授業を対象に、第2言語習得を動機づける自己システム(L2 Motivational Self System)と国際志向性の2側面を測定する36項目からなる質問紙を作成し、2年生202名に対して授業第1週目とその11週間後に調査を実施した。分析は、まず構造方程式モデリングで2回の調査間の動機づけの変化を分析し、それに基づき対応のあるt検定を実施した。分析の結果、動機づけの高い学習行動と義務自己ought-to selfに関する数値が1学期を通して向上したことが明らかになった。
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The present study proposed and tested a revision of the self-guides outlined in the L2 Motivational Self System (Dörnyei, 2005, 2009). Covering the previous conceptualization and measurement issues, Ideal L2 Self and Ought-to L2 Self were bifurcated by Own and Other standpoints, and re-operationalized based on the fundamental tenets of Self-Discrepancy Theory (Higgins, 1987) and Regulatory Focus Theory (Higgins, 1997). Confirmatory Factor Analysis supported the fitness of the model and its superiority over three alternative models based on data collected from 257 international students learning English as a second language at a major North-American university. Multiple regression results showed that Ought L2 Self/Own was the strongest predictor of Motivated Behavior. Ideal L2 Self/Own, Ought L2 Self/Other and Ideal L2 Self/Other were the next predictors in order of strength. Furthermore, Ideal L2 Self/Own predicted an Eager Strategic Inclination in L2 behavior, whereas Ought L2 Self/Own predicted a Vigilant Strategic Inclination, supporting the core principle of the Regulatory Focus Theory that individuals with different regulatory orientations pursue their goals in qualitatively different manners.
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This report presents a review of the statistical practices of 30 journals representative of the second language field. A review of 150 articles showed a number of prevalent statistical violations including incomplete reporting of reliability, validity, non-significant results, effect sizes, and assumption checks as well as making inferences from descriptive statistics and failing to correct for multiple comparisons. Scopus citation analysis metrics and whether a journal is SSCI-indexed were predictors of journal statistical quality. No clear evidence was obtained to favor the newly introduced CiteScore over SNIP or SJR. Implications of the results are discussed.
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In Dörnyei’s (2009a) theorizing, motivation is conceptualized to be generated by discomfort associated with the learner’s experience of a discrepancy between their current L2 self, and their ideal L2 self. However, in the L2 Motivational Self System, this discrepancy is not operationalized. A questionnaire containing measures of current L2 selves was administered to two cohorts of students learning English in Sweden, one in grade 7, and one in grade 9. Using structural equation modelling, results revealed that the discrepancy between the ideal L2 self and the current L2 self was greater for the grade 7 cohort. So too was the impact on a criterion variable measuring intended effort. Arguments for the operationalization of the self-discrepancy process in research designs are put forward. In studies tracking changes over time, it is suggested that the inclusion of a variable measuring the current L2 self could provide important insights into self-discrepancy trajectories, facilitate the investigation of motivational dynamics, and bring greater sensitivity to intervention-design.
This volume presents a new approach to motivation that focuses on the concept of 'vision'. Drawing on visualisation research in sports, psychology and education, the authors describe powerful ways by which imagining future scenarios in one's mind's eye can promote motivation to learn a foreign language. The book offers a rich selection of motivational strategies that can help students to 'see' themselves as potentially competent language users, to experience the value of knowing a foreign language in their own lives and, ultimately, to invest effort into learning it. Transformational leaders' vision for change is one of the prerequisites of turning language classrooms into motivating learning environments, and the second part of the book therefore focuses on how to ignite language teacher enthusiasm, how to re-kindle it when it may be waning and how to guard it when it is under threat.
p>Student evaluations of teaching (SET) are widely used in academic personnel decisions as a measure of teaching effectiveness. We show: SET are biased against female instructors by an amount that is large and statistically significant the bias affects how students rate even putatively objective aspects of teaching, such as how promptly assignments are graded the bias varies by discipline and by student gender, among other things it is not possible to adjust for the bias, because it depends on so many factors SET are more sensitive to students' gender bias and grade expectations than they are to teaching effectiveness gender biases can be large enough to cause more effective instructors to get lower SET than less effective instructors. These findings are based on nonparametric statistical tests applied to two datasets: 23,001 SET of 379 instructors by 4,423 students in six mandatory first-year courses in a five-year natural experiment at a French university, and 43 SET for four sections of an online course in a randomized, controlled, blind experiment at a US university.</p
This handbook offers an authoritative, one-stop reference work for the dynamic and expanding field of language learning motivation. The 32 chapters have been specially commissioned from the field’s most influential researchers and writers. Together they present a compelling picture of the motivations people have for learning languages, the diverse ways we can research motivation, and the implications for promoting and sustaining learners’ motivation. The first section outlines the main theoretical approaches to language learning motivation; the next section presents ways in which motivation theory has been applied in practice; the third section showcases examples of motivation research in particular contexts and with particular types of language learners; and the final section describes the exciting directions that contemporary research is taking, promising important new insights for academics and practitioners alike. Martin Lamb is Senior Lecturer in TESOL at the University of Leeds, UK. He previously worked as a language teacher and trainer in Sweden, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and Bulgaria. His main research interest is in language learner motivation and how it interacts with features of context like teaching in school. Kata Csizér is Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of English and Applied Linguistics at Eötvös University, Hungary. Her main field of research interest is the social psychological aspects of L2 learning and teaching, as well as second and foreign language motivation. Alastair Henry is Professor of Language Education at University West, Sweden. His research involves the psychology of language learning and teaching. In addition to motivation, his work has focused on teacher identities and language choices in contexts of migration. Stephen Ryan is Professor of Applied Linguistics in the School of Culture, Media and Society at Waseda University, Japan. His research covers various aspects of psychology in language learning, and he has several co-authored books in the field.
Journals tend to publish only statistically significant evidence, creating a scientific record that markedly overstates the size of effects. We provide a new tool that corrects for this bias without requiring access to nonsignificant results. It capitalizes on the fact that the distribution of significant p values, p-curve, is a function of the true underlying effect. Researchers armed only with sample sizes and test results of the published findings can correct for publication bias. We validate the technique with simulations and by reanalyzing data from the Many-Labs Replication project. We demonstrate that p-curve can arrive at conclusions opposite that of existing tools by reanalyzing the meta-analysis of the “choice overload” literature.