Design and Validation of Motivational-Regulation Scale

The motivational-regulation scale (MRS) was developed to explore the types of strategies that Chinese EFL college students used to deal with motivational problems encountered in English learning. The design of the questionnaire items on motivational regulation was guided by two main principles: (1) a combination of theoretical input suggested in the literature and first-hand information derived from students through a pilot study (Ramage, 1990; Schmidt & Watanable, 2001; Ushioda, 2001); and (2) the importance of an instrument written in the students’ first language (See Geisinger, 1994; Sakui & Gaies, 1999; Wen & Johnson, 1997).

Following the two principles, the design of the questionnaire items on motivational regulation went through three main stages. The first stage was to investigate the main motivational problems encountered by Chinese college students in English learning. These motivational problems were then used to form an open-ended questionnaire investigating students’ strategies for dealing with these motivational problems in different situations. The second stage was to generate open-ended questionnaire items. First, a pilot study was used to generate qualitative input for the development of the questionnaire. The pilot study focused on eliciting students’ responses to questions about how, in their English learning, they would react in a variety of situations where motivation was low. The response elicitation instrument was an open-ended questionnaire designed especially for this pilot study. Initial responses from students were combined with theoretical input derived from a comprehensive review of the relevant literature as the basis for selecting the items and constructing the scales for the questionnaire to be used in the subsequent survey study. The third stage was to select the most reliable items through further pilot studies. The most reliable items were selected to form the questionnaire items to be used in the large-scale formal study. We next elaborate on the three stages.

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