Exploring the mechanism of academic motivation : an integration of self-determination and achievement goal theories from a critical realist perspective
Motivation is a universal psychological phenomenon that determines all that we do. Self- determination Theory (SDT) and Achievement Goal Theory (AGT) each explain the academic motivation of university students and its relation to important academic outcomes (achievement, dedication, and well-being). Recently, an integration of these theories has been proposed (Drylund, 2009) which theorizes that achievement goals affect academic outcomes through their relationship with SDT constructs. The current study uses this integrative theory as a starting point but applies the critical realist perspective which posits that all empirical behaviours are produced by real generative mechanisms (Bhaskar, 1978). Although critical realism is considered vital to the advancement of psychology, its methodology and actual application has yet to be elaborated. Thus, the goals of the current study are: 1. to increase the current understanding of academic motivation; and, 2. to provide a method capable of facilitating research conducted from the critical realist perspective. Study 1 uses a variable-based approach and statistical analysis of questionnaire data from 385 undergraduate students; Study 2 uses a case-based approach through causal mapping of interview data from a purposeful sample of 12 Study 1 participants. Results support an academic motivational mechanism primarily influenced by autonomy satisfaction and controlling motivation that functions through the complex reciprocal relationships between achievement goals, competence satisfaction, and autonomous motivation. Comparison of Study 1 and 2 results supports the argument for case-based research from a critical realist perspective to aid in the further advancement of psychology.
DegreeMaster of Arts (M.A.)
SupervisorChirkov, Valery I.
CommitteeAlexitch, Louise; Willness, Chelsea; Claypool, Tim
Copyright DateMay 2015
achievement goal theory