Purpose And Research Questions English Language Essay

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The purpose of this study is to identify whether it is extrinsic motivation or intrinsic motivation which drives the English Language students in a private university in Malaysia to acquire English as their second language. The results from this study will be useful to increase the lecturers' understanding on what motivates the students to learn English and thus help them improve the current English course structure and lesson plans.

Two research questions were developed in order to shape and direct this study. These questions seek to identify the motivations for acquiring English as a second language amongst the students and then distinguish the differences between the different years of study. The questions are:

1.) Are the students more intrinsically motivated or are they more extrinsically motivated in acquiring English as their second language?

2.) To what extent, if any, do English Language male and female students in the university differ in their intrinsic and extrinsic motivation in acquiring English as a second language?

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3.3 Participants

The participants in this study consist of 64 students from a private university in Perak. The students chosen are those who are undergoing Bachelor's Degree Programme in English Language regardless of which year they are from because this study seeks to understand the motivation that drives the students from the course in learning English as a second language. They ranged in age from 19 to 25, with a mean age of 22 years. The sample is composed by 20 (31%) male students and 44 (69%) female students. 14 (22%) of the total respondents are Year 1 students, 22 (34%) participants are from Year 2 and 28 (44%) of them are made up of Year 3 students. They were chosen by using purposive sampling method because this study is focussing only on English Language students and so the samples selected are those who fit the criteria which are relevant to the research questions posed. In order to minimise unwanted variables, students who did not acquire English as their first language were chosen to participate in this study.

3.4 Instrumentations

The research instruments used in this research are in the form of questionnaire and interview. The first questionnaire (Part A) is used to understand the background of the participants. This part consists of three items namely age, gender and year of studies. This background information is collected to assist in the second research question which is needs information regarding the gender of the participants. Apart from that, the information regarding age and year of studies also important to make sure that the students from all three years of studies are involved in the survey conducted.

The second questionnaire (Part B), attempts to measure both Intrinsic and Extrinsic motivation of students (see questionnaire in Appendix A). A valid and reliable instrument, the Academic Motivation Scale (AMS) (Vallerand et al.,1992) that accurately examines motivation, was adapted to fulfil this task. This scale was chosen because it is "the most comprehensive measure of the Extrinsic/Intrinsic dichotomy" (Seyyed and Mohammad, 2008). According to Vallerand et al. (1992), the AMS presents "a reliable and valid scale in its own right".

The original questionnaire, "Construction et validation de I'echelle de motivation en education (EME)" by Vallerand, Blais, Brierre, and Pelletier, (1989) was in French and in 1992, Vallerand et al. translated it into English.

The Academic Motivation Scale consists of 28 items which was designed to assess amotivation, intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation. The AMS has seven categories with three reflecting the intrinsic motivation which are intrinsic motivation to know, intrinsic motivation toward accomplishments and intrinsic motivation to experience stimulation; three reflecting extrinsic motivation namely the external regulation, introjected regulation and identified regulation and last but not least the amotivation (Vallerand et al., 1992). However, for the purpose of this study, the amotivation-related items were eliminated and thus, only 24 items were used to measure the intrinsic and extrinsic motivation among the English Language students. The items were randomly distributed throughout the questionnaire.

The survey done was based on a six-point Likert scale. A six- point scale was chosen "to spread responses and encourage mid-point decisions rather than neutral responses" (Recommendations Presented to the Faculty Senate,2002). For each item, respondents will rate themselves to which extent the proposed reasons applied to them on a scale of 1 to 6. The scale consists of the following response options:

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6- Strongly agree

5- Agree

4- Slightly agree

3- Slightly disagree

2- Disagree

1- Strongly disagree

A high score would suggest that there is a high agreement between the purported reason and the student's motive for acquiring English as a second language. The structure of the questionnaire will be as such:

• Intrinsic motivation to know - Items 2,8,14,20

• Intrinsic motivation toward accomplishments - Items 5,11,17,23

• Intrinsic motivation to experience stimulations - Items 4,10,16,22

• Extrinsic motivation - external regulation - Items 1,7,13,19

• Extrinsic motivation - introjected regulation - Items 6,12,18,24

• Extrinsic motivation - identification - Items 3,9,15,21

Apart from the questionnaire, interviews were also conducted in order to further to understand the respondents' point of view regarding their motivation in acquiring English as a second language. A standardized open-ended interview method is used to ensure that all interviews are done in a consistent and thorough way. Listed here are the three standardized interview questions:

1. Is motivation an important factor in acquiring English as a second language? Why is that so?

2. Which type of motivation (extrinsic or intrinsic motivation) plays a bigger role in acquiring English as a second language?

3. What is your reason for acquiring English as a second language?

3.4.1 Pilot study.

The survey instrument was pilot tested in order to test whether the questionnaire prepared has an accurate assessment of the students' motivation. 10 students from the English Language course were randomly selected as the subjects.

The internal consistency reliability of the elements of motivation was evaluated by using Cronbach's alpha coefficient (see reliability test results in Appendix D). The reliability coefficient for the 24 items in the questionnaire was .930 which, according to George and Mallery (2003), is excellent. The internal consistency of intrinsic motivation questions was .864 and for the extrinsic motivation, the Cronbach's alphas were .944. Based on the results which show that all the values are above 0.7, the survey instrument can therefore be used for the formal survey of this study.

3.5 Procedure and Time Frame

The entire research took approximately one month. 64 respondents took part in the survey and from the 64 students who completed the survey, 10 (five males and five females) agreed to participate in follow-up interviews.

Before proceeding with the interviews, each interviewee was briefed on the objectives and the meaning of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. The interviews were recorded and transcribed. An analysis was done after all the data was collected and then the conclusion was derived from the analysis done. Due to the anonymity of the respondents, interview respondents were given a code name to identify who they were. A code name for female respondents would be "F" and followed a number to differentiate them. The same goes to the male respondents. However, the letter used to represent male respondents is "M". An example of the code name would be "F1" which means female respondent one.

The data gathered from the interviews are used to validate the quantitative results.

3.6 Data Analysis

The data collected were tabulated by using IBM SPSS Statistics 20 and Microsoft Excel. Descriptive analysis was done by using Microsoft Excel to find out the means and standard deviations of the items. Inferential statistical tests called the independent t-test by using SPSS were carried out to compare the means between extrinsic and intrinsic motivation and the significant difference between male and female respondents in their intrinsic and extrinsic motivation to acquire English as a second language.

However, before conducting the independent t-test for each case, an assessment of the normality for each data is required to determine the normality of each data gathered. Since the sample size is small, Shapiro-Wilk Test results computed by SPSS for each data were used to assess the normality via numerical means (see results of Shapiro-Wilk Test for each data are shown in Appendix B).

The interviews done were transcribed and analysed (see interview transcripts in Appendix C). The opinions given by the interviewees were cross-tabulated with the results from the questionnaire.