Motivation for Studying in Medical School

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This paper uses quantitative analysis of questionnaire data gathered online from a sample of first year medical students to explore and test the hypothesis that intrinsically motivated students are more successful in course assessments. It is concluded that broadly indicative trends suggest that relationships exist between personality type, motivation and performance, but that the relationships may be masked by unconsidered factors.


Motivation is important to teaching and learning because it lays a crucial role in the student's approach to learning, as understanding their motivation can potentially predict levels of interest and effort placed on the process of learning and consequently academic results. Stipek (1988) proposed a variety of reasons for lack of motivation and behaviours associated with high academic achievement; he specifically found that encouraging intrinsic motivation helped to improve learning outcomes. Intrinsic motivation, however, often requires more effort to generate than extrinsic motivation. To decide if it is worth this extra effort, the degree to which improvements occur has to be quantified to see if results compare favourably to more direct motivational methods, such as high-stakes examinations. Personality profiling may also offer an additional advantage given the widening participation agenda, as different types of motivation may be shown as more effective for students at risk of failure. ...
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