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An investigation of the factors affecting student motivation in junior cycle science in Ireland

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dc.contributor.advisor Childs, Peter
dc.contributor.advisor Curtin, Teresa McManus, Beulah 2017-03-08T12:56:40Z 2017-03-08T12:56:40Z 2016
dc.description peer-reviewed en_US
dc.description.abstract This research project involved the investigation of the factors affecting junior cycle science students’ motivation to study science in Ireland. Too many young students are being turned off science too soon. Research has shown that students come into school with strong innate interest in science, but that the decline of their interest results from the way science is taught in schools (Mitchell 1993; Krajcik et al. 2003; Palmer 2009). This research project aimed to discover the main factors that affect students’ motivation to study science at this stage and to discover whether or not disengaged students can reengage with science in school. The project was split into two phases: a quantitative study and a qualitative study. Findings from both the quantitative and qualitative phases of the study were analysed together using a triangulation approach. The quantitative investigation involved designing two questionnaires: a student questionnaire and a teacher questionnaire. The student questionnaire sought information about the students’ attitudes towards science, the teaching approaches used in their science lessons, their motivation in science and their plans for careers in science. The teacher questionnaire aimed to discover the factors which they perceive to affect their students’ motivation in science. For the quantitative study, a representative sample of 100 second-level schools were selected from a list of the second-level schools (N=212) in Munster (which is a province in Ireland), using a stratified sampling approach. Three Teacher Questionnaires were sent to each of the 100 schools (N=300). In total, 77 teachers returned the teacher questionnaires from 48 various Munster schools (n= 25.6%).The student questionnaires were administered to 11 schools which showed interest in allowing their students to partake in the study. 1,427 student questionnaires were returned from 10 of the 11 interested schools (N=2330, 61.2% response). SPSS Version 21.0 was used to analyse the responses in the questionnaires. Phase two of this study, the qualitative phase, involved three teacher interviews with three teachers from one school, and three student focus groups with groups of six 1st year students, six 2nd year students and six 3rd year students in the same co-educational school as the teacher interviews. The interview and focus group questions were devised based on the main themes emerging from the questionnaire data and aspects previously not examined in the questionnaire. Results from this study reveal that many Irish students are motivated to study science in a typical sense, that is, they appear diligent, hard working and they are interested in learning science for the sake of learning science. Many other students are also motivated however, motivated to show others that they are able to well, motivated to study harder because they want a career that involves science, or because they want to get a good grade. What is clear from the data, is that the latter type of motivation involving performance goals, tends to dominate students’ motivation in learning science. A further interesting finding from this study is that science self-concept is the key factor in reengaging disengaged students in science, where female students in particular experience lower levels of science self-concept than their male counterparts. en_US
dc.language.iso eng en_US
dc.publisher University of Limerick en_US
dc.subject junior cycle science en_US
dc.subject Ireland en_US
dc.subject yound students en_US
dc.title An investigation of the factors affecting student motivation in junior cycle science in Ireland en_US
dc.type info:eu-repo/semantics/masterThesis en_US
dc.type.supercollection all_ul_research en_US
dc.type.supercollection ul_published_reviewed en_US
dc.type.supercollection ul_theses_dissertations en_US
dc.rights.accessrights info:eu-repo/semantics/openAccess en_US

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