A study into academic motivation in 3rd level students using Ajzen's theory of planned behaviour : a look at possible gender differences

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Comerford, Elizabeth
Issue Date
Higher Diploma in Arts in Psychology
Dublin Business School
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The purpose of this study was to look at academic motivation in 3rd level students using Azjen’s theory of planned behaviour and to compare possible sex differences within this framework. Motivational determinants were examined using the constructs of the theory of planned behaviour and the external variables academic experience, goal setting and selfconcept. Fifty participants took part in the study; males and females between the ages of 18 and 28, there were four excluded cases. Each individual was required to fill out a questionnaire based on the theory of planned behaviour and which included the external variable academic experience and goal setting and a self-concept questionnaire. Results showed that the theory of planned behaviour variables are significantly correlated with intention and therefore can be used as a model for academic behaviour. Gender differences were also found within this framework. Differences in subjective norm, perceived behavioural control but interestingly enough not in attitude or intention. There were also gender differences in goal setting with females putting more emphasis on academic goals than males and in their academic experience. There were no differences in self-concept. Past study behaviour was found to be a good predictor of future intention. These finding suggest that males and females 3rd level experience and approach to study at this level is also different for some aspects of their lives. This may help with the implementation of first year mentor or study advice for students. If past behaviour indicates future study behaviour it would seem to be important to have structures in place for students from their first day at 3rd level to help them to achieve the best results they possibly can. Author keywords: Theory of planned behaviour, gender differences, self-concept, academic experience, goal setting