Stage 3: Selecting questionnaire items
The first version of motivational regulation questionnaire combining the first-hand information and the theoretical input suggested in the literature consisted of 58 items. To select the most reliable and representative items, two rounds of pilot study were conducted. The first pilot study was conducted with 230 college students from three universities. An initial exploratory factor analysis and reliability analysis was carried out with the data obtained. Based on the results, items were removed from scales when their corrected item-scale total correlation was so low that elimination of the item made the Cronbach’s alpha rise. According to the results of exploratory factor analyses, items that had a low loading on all factors (less than 0.4) were removed to facilitate interpretation of each factor. Items were removed when elimination of them made the number of factors reduce obviously. Items that had high loading on one of the factors but obviously did not belong to that factor were removed. Apart from the statistical measures, consultations with several experts in SLA and College English teachers were held to decide the items to be selected. At the same time, modifications on items were made according to the results of this pilot study. At last, 47 items were identified and formed the second version of questionnaire items for motivational regulation. These 47 items proceeded to a second round of pilot study.
An additional 272 college students participated in the second round of pilot study. The resulting data underwent reliability analysis and exploratory factor analysis. With the same principles as those of the first pilot study, seven items were removed. Several College English teachers reviewed the content of the other 40 items. With their suggestions, further modification was made to form the final version of the scale that would be used in the formal study. The final version of the scale for motivational regulation consisted of 40 items (see Part two of Appendix 2).