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. This research may consequently lead to suggesting alterations in teaching practice and support mechanisms which enhance the learning process for specific types of students.
In order to limit the scope of this study to a reasonable level, the following questions were devised:
1. What student behaviours indicate intrinsic and extrinsic motivation
2. To what extent can these behaviours be predicted by personality type
3. How can both of these factors be related to final examination performance
Following ethical approval, 120 first-year medical students from a single institution were invited to complete an online survey. Response anonymity was ensured through use of a third-party website which collected responses without requesting information which could be used to identify individuals. Ritchie & Lewis stress the need to demonstrate any potential reciprocity when seeking participants so as to ensure a positive relationship with research in general and to make the immediate proposition "more of an exchange" and therefore more appealing to participants (2003. p.64). However, as this study was concerned with motivation it was decided that encouraging participation by offering a direct reward was unsuitable (and arguably limits the definition of voluntary participation) and so a post-study debrief and workshop was organised and offered to all students in the population regardless of participation in the study. The response rate of 25.8% (31 respondents) demonstrates a broadly representative opportunity sample of the population, suggesting that generalization to the population is worthwhile - particularly if personality type profiling is used. Gender was split as evenly as possible in an odd numbered list with 16 female and 15 male respondents. 7 of the 31 were from a non-English speaking background. Ages