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Survey of Research on Self-Determination Theory and Language Learning (Table 1)

  • Author(s) / Creator(s)
  • Since the early 2000s, almost 300 SDT-relevant empirical journal articles and approximately the same number of dissertations have been published, with at least half appearing in the last five years. A review of the studies published in peer-reviewed journals (see Table 1) shows that half of these studies (56%) utilize questionnaire surveys with closed-ended questions and cross-sectional designs, yielding quantitative data, which is analyzed through descriptive statistics and more or less complex correlational techniques (e.g., bivariate correlations; factor analysis; multiple regression; structural equation modeling and related techniques). Consistent with trends in the broader SLA field, qualitative (19%) and mixed methods (26%) are almost as prevalent as quantitative methods. Perhaps reflecting LL researchers’ interest in complex dynamic systems theory and developmental science (Ortega & Han, 2017), there is an increasing number of longitudinal studies (Noels et al., 2019c). There remains, however, a lack of experimental or intervention studies, which would provide more definitive conclusions about hypothesized causal relations and point to possible avenues for enhancing motivation.
    As mentioned earlier, contemporary LL research has primarily focused on the dynamics within the classroom, and this trend is evident in SDT research as well. Research participants tend to be adults enrolled in post-secondary institutions (65%) who are learning English (79%) as foreign language (81%). Although the research is largely limited to adult EFL learners, the national contexts in which SDT research is conducted is strikingly diverse: the largest body of research comes from Japan (20%), followed by China (10%), the US (10.5%), and Canada (7.7%), with the remaining ~50 nations ranging from New Zealand, to Turkey, to Malaysia, to Ecuador. This widespread interest in SDT underscores the potential that the LL domain offers for comparative, cross-cultural research examining the universality and cultural specificity of aspects of SDT, provided that instruments with satisfactory psychometric properties across cultures can be developed and sufficiently comparable samples can be obtained (e.g., similar age, target language, pedagogical approach, etc).

  • Date created
    2021-10-01
  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Type of Item
    Review
  • DOI
    https://doi.org/10.7939/r3-tmmt-3g15
  • License
    Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International