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Title: Using mixed methods to explore L2 motivation : a study of Senior High School English learners in Taiwan
Author: Chen, Szu-An
ISNI:       0000 0004 2690 3937
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2010
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This mixed-methods research aims to explore two aspects of student motivation in the Taiwanese senior-high-school context. Firstly, it investigates students’ motivational orientations for studying English after the education reform policies were launched in 2002. Secondly, it examines the fluctuating nature of student motivation and the perceived motivational factors which might cause changes in motivation. As well as this, the present study attempts to compare and contrast student motivation in different school grades (year one versus year three). This study employed a three-phase sequential exploratory mixed-methods design, with a combination of prioritized qualitative and supplementary quantitative research approaches to studying L2 motivation. The semi-structured interview guide and the item pool of the questionnaire were developed through four preliminary interviews in Phase One. Qualitative data were gathered through the interview study in Phase Two by conducting 33 individual interviews with 26 students and seven English teachers in one local senior high school in southern Taiwan. The preliminary analysis of the interview data was then used to modify and finalize the questionnaire distributed in the survey in Phase Three. A total of 428 senior-high-school students in grade one/three responded to the questionnaire which was designed to describe motivational features and motivational changes of a bigger student sample under investigation. The research results reveal that the majority of students study English because of instrumental orientation. There is no major difference between first- and third-grade students in light of seven classifications of L2 motivation. Gardner’s modified concept of integrativeness can be applicable to Taiwanese senior-high-school students today. Also, the recently-proposed L2 Motivational Self System by Dörnyei can explain student motivation through a self perspective to a great extent. Based on the questionnaire reports, the ideal L2 self shows the least significant difference between male and female students involved in the study. In addition, the ought-to L2 self found in this study presents some local features which are different from its original theoretical concept. As for changes in motivation, the research findings indicate a variety of motivational factors with diverse influences on the students’motivation when they learn English in senior high school, such as teachers, parents, peers, exams, test scores, social encounters with foreigners, learning experience, and the development of future goals. Another major finding shows that exams exert a rather complex influence on student motivation in the Taiwanese senior-high-school context.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: LB2300 Higher Education ; PE English