Academic journal article The Spanish Journal of Psychology

A Comparative Study on Undergraduate Students' Academic Motivation and Academic Self-Concept

Academic journal article The Spanish Journal of Psychology

A Comparative Study on Undergraduate Students' Academic Motivation and Academic Self-Concept

Article excerpt

The purpose of this study was to investigate Turkish and American undergraduate students' academic motivation and academic self-concept scores regarding the years that they spent in university. The analysis was based on 566 (284 Turkish, 282 American) undergraduate students where, Academic Motivation Scale and Academic Self- Concept Scale were used as measuring instruments. The results showed that there was a statistical significant effect of nationality and number of years spent in university on undergraduate students' intrinsic motivation, extrinsic motivation, and self-concept scores. Turkish students had higher intrinsic scores whereas American students had higher extrinsic scores and more positive academic-self concept compared to Turkish partners. Regarding grade level, senior students from both cultures had higher intrinsic motivation and academic self-concept scores compared to other grade levels. In terms of extrinsic motivation, there is steady decline in American students' scores as grade level increases. On the other hand, Turkish undergraduates' extrinsic scores decrease in the second year but increase in the third and fourth year of university education. Results were discussed by taking into consideration the social and cultural differences between two nations.

Keywords: comparative study, academic motivation, academic self-concept.

El propósito de este trabajo fue investigar en postgraduados turcos y americanos la motivación y el autoconcepto académicos, en relación con los años invertidos en la universidad. Se registraron las puntuaciones de una muestra de 566 estudiantes postgraduados (284 turcos y 282 americanos) en una Escala de motivación académica y otra Escala de autoconcepto académico. Los resultados indicaron un efecto estadísticamente significativo entre la nacionalidad y el número de años invertidos en la universidad para las puntuaciones de motivación intrínseca, extrínseca y autoconcepto. Los estudiantes turcos puntuaban más alto en motivación intrínseca mientras que los americanos puntuaban más alto en extrínseca y mostraron un autoconcepto más positivo que los estudiantes turcos. En relación con el nivel de estudios, los estudiantes licenciados de ambas culturas puntuaban más alto en motivación intrínseca y en autoconcepto académico que los estudiantes diplomados. En cuanto a la motivación extrínseca, los estudiantes americanos mostraron un descenso en sus puntuaciones a medida que aumentaba el nivel de estudios. Por otro lado, las puntuaciones extrínsecas de los postgraduados turcos disminuía en la segunda mitad del año aunque incrementaba entre el tercer y cuarto año de estudios universitarios. Los resultados se discutieron teniendo en cuenta las diferencias socioculturales de ambas naciones.

Palabras clave: estudios comparativos, motivación académica, autoconcepto académico.

Research studies on motivational variables have received increased attention within the fields of psychology and education over the past decade (Murphy & Alexander, 2000; Pintrich, 2000). Motivations where various theoretical approaches have been used to define it account for why individuals behave in a given manner in a specific situation. They are believed to exist as part of one's goal structures, and they direct whether or not one would engage in a given pursuit (Ames, 1992).

Academic motivation is one of the variables that have been the focus of many studies. As a result, there are several theories that explain academic motivation. For instance, Graham (1997) asserts that basic principles of attribution theory provide a framework for understanding the reasons people attribute their academic success and failures. Graham added that those reasons could be ability, effort, luck, help or hindrance from others. On the other hand, in order to investigate the roles of self-determined and controlled behavior in academic performance, self-determination theory was proposed (Deci & Ryan, 1985; Deci, Vallerand, Pelletier, & Ryan, 1991). …

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