Thursday, 29 August 2013

Motivation #2

In my last blog I wrote about starting to develop greater insight into the topic of motivation but wanting to find (a) more up-to-date and (b) more human-centric literature.
I have now started reading Understanding Motivation and Emotion (4th edition) by Johnmarshall Reeve (2005). The book is broken down into five sections, of which I have just finished the opening part. I think it would be most useful for me to reflect as I go along rather than read it all first, as I can give myself a chance to assimilate any new knowledge, not just for the purposes of my inquiry but also to aid and improve my professional practice.
The first three chapters tackle, respectively, the general subject area, the history of development, and the physiology behind, motivation. However, I'm not going to look at each chapter independently but rather in summary relative to my thoughts and ideas.

I am, as a teacher, always concerned about the 'motivational states' (Reeves, 2005) of my students, and also how much influence I have over them. Hence my chosen subject for inquiry. However, just because it has a priority in my teaching practice doesn't necessarily mean that it has value! - I'm talking, of course, about the subjectivity of truth, bias, perspective, personal experience, etc.
However, very early on in the text, Reeve says,
'People with high-quality motivation adapt well and thrive; people with motivational deficits flounder.' (p.11)
This, then, affords a vital importance to motivation. But this is motivation as an isolated construct, of little or no use in practice. In my job, I need to know if what I do, as teacher, has any effect on my students? If not, then a study of 'motivation in the dance class' will be of very little use to me.
Again, Reeve comes to the rescue,
'A person's motivation cannot be separated from the social context in which it is embedded. That is, ...a student's motivation is strongly affected by the social context provided by the school' (p.16)
So, by extrapolation, it is possible to say that how a (dance) student experiences (dance) school is, in (large) part, down to the environment that the (dance) school provides.
Reeve (referencing Ryan & Deci, 2000) goes on to talk about 'nurturing and supportive' versus 'neglectful and damaging' (p.16) environments and the positive and negative effects, respectively, that these have on well-being and personal growth (p.16).
Of particular importance to me, as I hope you will see, and to the potential value of my research, is the following statement,
'In education, an understanding of motivation can be applied to...inform teachers how to provide a supportive classroom that will nurture students' needs and interests' (p.16).
In my case: a stronger grasp of motivation as a phenomena, coupled with input from my students, will surely afford me, as researcher/teacher, a more knowledgeable standpoint from which to understand better (as Reeve puts it) their 'needs and interests.'

So, that's all well and good but how?
Well, by observing the expression of 'positive emotions such as joy, hope, interest, and optimism,' which suggest flourishing motivational states or 'negative emotions such as sadness, hopelessness, frustration, and stress' (p.16).
In the case of my inquiry this will not be first hand observation but through the 'self-report' of my students, in the form of both diary entries and verbal communication in interview.

But, as Reeve discusses at a later point, under a sub-heading entitled We Are Not Always Consciously Aware of the Motivational Basis of Our Behavior (which pretty much says it all!), sometimes we cannot vocalise or indeed may not even be consciously aware of the motives behind our actions (p.66). 
How can I understand my students' motivational states if they themselves might be unaware of them!

This is where I had been struggling. Since proposing this inquiry I have been worrying about the 'analysis' aspect of my research. Yes, my main concern is the ideas and thoughts of my students, but, in order for my research report to have any coherency and interest for the reader, I need to organise and analyse my data.
I can't use graphs or pie-charts, or other methods of presenting quantitative data, as my information will be qualitative in nature; I'm not asking my students a set list of questions so there is no direct correlation(s) to be made, as in, for example, 8 out of 10 students said wearing legwarmers made them feel really motivated therefore there is a strong correlation between positive motivational states and the wearing of legwarmers!
However, I think I may have found a possible direction for my data analysis in a statement from Reeve that 'motives vary not only in intensity but also in type' (p.14). He goes on to explain that as well as strong-weak (or high-low) levels of motivation there are also motivational theorists who suggest the existence of types of motivational state - 'for instance, intrinsic/ extrinsic...' and approach/ avoidance (p.14).

So, now I have a possible starting point for analysis, depending on the data I collect over the coming weeks.
For example, a statement from student A is "I really doesn't like it when the teacher praises me in class." The inclusion of the word really indicates to me the strength of the motive. But what type? It could be that (a) the student has a problem accepting praise from the teacher - perhaps she doesn't feel that she deserves praise, or that (b) the teacher is just saying it without really meaning it, or (c) perhaps it is from embarrassment and being singled out in front of the other students, albeit for positive reasons. These three possibilities may then be reinforced or discredited by further triangulation of diary entries or other statements made in interview or from the non-verbal cues observed by researcher.
If it turns out, say, that (b) is the most likely, and it is perhaps seen in other data from other students, then in report it could be suggested that students enjoy praise but only when it is merited...

I've clearly still got a long way to go before I begin any data analysis but I feel that the door has opened a crack to allow me to, metaphorically, put my foot in and, hopefully, push it wider.


Reeve, J. (2005). Understanding Motivation and Emotion. 4th ed. USA: John Wiley & Sons, Inc..



Sunday, 25 August 2013

Motivation #1

I've just finished reading Motivational systems by Frederick Toates (1986), which is my starting point for developing further knowledge around the topic of motivation.
The book is part of a series entitled Problems in the Behavioural Sciences, which gives a context for the approach Toates takes.

Although the book looks at the principles of motivation behind hunger, thirst and sex in laboratory animals (not an obvious basis for my research on student experiences in dance lessons I hear you cry!) it felt like a great place to begin to understand the fundamental theories and concepts behind motivation.
Throughout the book Toates draws on the work of B. F. Skinner, Ivan Pavlov and other behaviourists.

I also realise that the book is over 25 years old, and will aim to uncover more current, and perhaps relevant, literature on motivation now that I have given myself a starting point.

In the preface Toates explains that his book is an attempt to bring together three strands of motivational theory, that of the 'biological roots of motivation', the purposive, goal-directed nature of motivational sytems' and contemporary learning theory (p.xi).

In this blog I  hope to do three things,
  1. Identify the specific terminology relating to motivation,
  2. Accurately describe this terminology, and
  3. Attempt to make connections to my area of research.
(N.B. This is a vital aspect of my inquiry as I will need to be clear and definite about any terms used in my research both in my own mind and so as to reduce the readers confusion and/or misinterpretation. It will also be important to ensure that any theory or concept that I may use to analyse any data be relevant and correct.)

Toates suggest that 'perhaps motivation has most commonly been used to refer to the strength of tendency to engage in behaviour when taking into account not only internal factors but also appropriate external factors' (p.6) 'Thus motivation arises as a function of both internal state (drive) and incentive'* (p.6).
(*Incentive being the term used to describe the external factors.)

He goes on to describe motivation as 'the strength of willingness' (p.7) and 'the strength of tendency to engage in behaviour of a particular quality' (p.17). 

Already this has already given me a two-pronged description of motivation, which, if applied to the dance student, equates to the state of being of the student in combination with the environment.
The 'strength' of which is dependent, then, on particular combinations in specific situations.

Goal-directed/ Purpose
Toates suggests the normal usage of these terms has two aspects:
(1) Behaviour is directed towards the attainment of some desired future  state...(2) The particular form of goal-directed behaviour ceases when the goal has been attained (p.8).
Which he then uses as the basis of a second, 'more cognitive model' (p.17) of motivation, as:
the goal-seeking, purposive quality involved in the expectation of a future state' (p.18).
So, motivation can also be said to be how one plans to get from where one is now to where on wants to be. In terms of the dance class that would suggest that the student cognitively forms strategies that will allow them to attain their particular goal(s).

Toates takes motivation one step further and suggests that 'sensory stimulus revives a memory' (I picture Pavlov's dogs salivating), which if positive will enhance motivation but if negative will reduce it (p49).

In practice this would suggest that students don't react to the 'incentive' in the here and now but in combination with previous experience. So, for example, a student, realising that they are late for class, might invoke a memory of a previous occasion where they were severely reprimanded for tardiness, causing them to feel panic.

Where a stimulus 'reinstates a memory of the incentive...', which then determines the behaviour that follows (p.115).

Using the previous example, I could then suggest that this student might suddenly rush in order to try and get to the class on time.

Competition/ integration
Two terms used to describe occasions of multiple incentives, where competition refers to factors that pull in different directions - conflicting - and integration where they pull in the same direction.

The relevance to my research, I believe, comes from how these moments of conflict are dealt with, and is where Toates suggests that,
Bias and inhibition at the sensory level might be able to eliminate all but one candidate incentive. (p.154)
And also that, incentives are presented can affect the motivational state. (p.155)
In an imaginary class situation this could be seen as follows:
During class a student is asked to perform her routine as a solo. She has, in this example, two conflicting incentives, (1) the feeling of satisfaction she will get from performing the routine (her love of dance) and (2) the feeling of embarrassment performing in front of an audience (her shyness). The strength of her shyness might be stronger than her love of dance and so the student may refuse, cry or run out of the studio.
If the situation was presented, perhaps, as performing the routine whilst the other students waited outside the studio door then this could potentially alter the students motivational state by not causing her to feel shy.

To conclude this blog I am going to finish with perhaps the most pertinent sentence in the book, relative to my inquiry, which is that drive cannot be seen. We only see the behaviour. Or as Toates puts it,
as soon as we se attempt to look at indices of such a state this will inevitably be with regard to some external reference.' (p.164)

So, as I've mentioned previous blogs, and have again had reinforced, throughout my inquiry I cannot at any point say that I will looked at motivation as a phenomenon. Perhaps it will be more apt to say that I have tried to explore and understand the physical and cognitive manifestations of motivation through the thoughts and experiences of my students?

In the next few weeks I hope to expand, enhance and develop my understanding of motivation so if anybody has discovered any literature concerning motivation I would really appreciate you sharing.
I'd also really appreciate any thoughts or comments, particularly where I have tried to apply concepts to dance-related examples.



Toates, F. 1986. Motivational systems. Cambridge [Cambridgeshire]: Cambridge University Press.


Monday, 19 August 2013

Further, further considerations!

Okay, so it seems that now I've started reflecting deeper about subjectivity, validity, responsibility and safety (see blogs Further considerations, Laying the Path - part two, and Scribblings), I just can't stop!

What is currently running around my brain is this:

As researcher I aim to involve my participants in meaningful, interesting and engaging research that provides anonymity, confidentiality, safety, and benefit. I can do this by realising, and acknowledging, my reasoning, approach, standpoint and interaction with all aspects of my research and taking steps to limit bias, misrepresentation and overstatement.

However, I'm not just a researcher am I? I'm also a teacher. And a teacher of the students that are participating in my research.

So this leads to a secondary responsibility, and potential area for harm, in that I don't just walk away from things at the end of the research process but continue to have a professional relationship with all participants.
What I'm trying to say is this, what I choose to do with the 'data' during the research is the responsibility of my role as ethical researcher but what I do, or more importantly don't do, with it afterwards, as teacher, has the potential to be way more harmful. For example, students are honest, insightful and open about their experiences in the dance class, yet after collection and analysis, there is no sign, in my teaching, of having taken on board any of their ideas or information. Wouldn't this reinforce the 'nobody really listens to us so what's the point' attitude that some children might feel (based on previous experience of adults).
From an ethical point of view this would also mean that I have failed in my responsibility, as researcher, to ensure that no participant suffers harm, in this case, in a psychological manner, as a result of my research.

In an attempt to eliminate such problems I must ensure to promote, and that each student understands, the limitations of my inquiry and not overstate any claims to 'changing the way I, or others, teach.'

Helen Roberts states,
The 'is it worth it?' 'what will happen to this research?' question is a reasonable response from those with whom we research to the demands made by the researcher on their time (2004).
And, I believe that, firstly, by understanding, and, secondly, by the way I approach the answering of, these two questions - for myself (reflection on) and my students (explanation about) - will affect both research and professional practice.

It is clear to me that time spent before engaging in inquiry, on reading, reflecting, designing, adjusting and planning, is vital to the overall success of my research.
And I mean that not in the 'my research is going to change the world' sense but the 'my first role as teacher/ researcher is, to quote an earlier part of this blog, to involve my participants in meaningful, interesting and engaging research that provides anonymity, confidentiality, safety, and benefit' sense!


Further considerations

Over the weekend I've been reading a chapter on discourse analysis, and the notes I've made have caused me to look back in my journal at previous entries and reflect on them from a more informed perspective.

The objectivity v subjectivity of my forthcoming research is something that I've already thought a lot about, and how the very nature of my topic area - student perspectives on motivation in the dance class - cannot really be quantified nor provide scientific models or theories for wider application.
However, I hadn't fully considered just how subjective the nature of my research really was:
'Hearing children's voices' is an active, subjective process in contrast with the positivist depiction of data collection as a neutral process of gathering pre-existing facts that are unmediated my our perceptions and unchanged by our practices of description and representation (Alldred and Burman 2005, pp. 175).
The relativity of 'truth' and 'fact,' which actually links right back to Module 1 (campus session 2, recalled to me a previous piece I had read, Postpositivist Research in Dance (Greene and Stinson, 1999), which also deals with the subject of validity and interpretation in this type of research.

One thing that both pieces place importance on is the open acknowledgement of all aspects of interpretation and subjectivity in any summary of the research, from the very beginnings right through to the end, and beyond.
In order for me to be able to do this I felt it was important that I could accurately pinpoint three facts:
  1. Why did I choose this topic?,
  2. What are the aims of my research, and/or what claims can I actually make?, and
  3. Where will my 'self' be evident?
With this knowledge I now have greater insight into, and can produce strategies to reduce, or if not reduce then identify, where I could 'de-rail' my research. It will also, when presenting my 'finished' project, allow me to inform the reader so that they have a greater understanding of the 'why' and 'what for' of my inquiry, and an awareness of it's limitations.

By identifying myself as a major thread running through this inquiry - my perspective has created and designed it, my ears will 'hear' and my eyes 'see' my students perspectives on it, and my hand and mind will analyse, interpret and report it - I am also able to see that I have a huge responsibility to handle this inquiry with great care and consideration. In particular I must be ultra-aware of, and able to accept and acknowledge, such factors as, for example, context, object-framing, bias, and 'cultural 'taken-for-granteds' (Alldred and Burman 2005, pp. 177).

So, can I formulate any kind of conclusion thus far? Well,...yes!

I am now feel that I have clearer understanding of my reasons for choosing this topic, more confidence in why I have chosen certain methodologies and the basic design of my data collection, more awareness of how context and researcher influence will shape this inquiry as a whole, and that I should not be focused on the limitations of my inquiry, for example, the 'wider application' of my research but on the responsibility I have to student benefit and safety, not just before and during but after the research period.

I also feel that I have been given a great opportunity, as teacher/ researcher, to create something useful, even within the interpretive, and therefore subjective, nature of my research, and that there is already a degree of practical application in that it might offer up an opportunity for others to realise that inquiry is a vital part of professional practice.


Alldred, P. and Burman, E. 2005. Analysing Children's Accounts using Discourse Analysis. In: Greene, S. and Hogan, D. eds. 2005. Researching Children's Experience: Methods and Approaches. London: SAGE, pp. 175 - 195.

Green, J. and Stinson, S. 1999. Postpositivist Research in Dance. In: Horton Fraleigh, S. and Hanstein, P. eds. 1999. Researching Dance: Evolving modes of inquiry. University of Pittsburgh Press, pp. 91-123.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Laying the path - part two

In the second half of my blog on the 18th July (Laying the path) I highlighted some areas that I needed to reflect on regarding both the consent letter for the participants and who I would be giving these letter out to. In this blog I wanted to talk about the hows and whys of the decisions that I arrived I and what happened next...

In a desire to create a sample group of students that would be a) representative of each school, and therefore prove a wider cross-section of the students that I interact with in my professional practice, yet b) not cause students to feel either exposed, and therefore unable or unwilling to be honest about their experiences for fear of repercussions, or under-valued by not being asked to participate, I came up with two main criteria (some of which are identified in my inquiry proposal):

1. Students will be between 12-16years of age
I chose this age range as I feel that such a short project, with such a limited sample size, necessitates limiting who is included so as to provide findings that are potentially more representative of a particular spectrum of students. Also, understanding that extrinsic and intrinsic motivators shift in balance once children reach middle school age, and that thinking will have changed from concrete to abstract around the lower end of this age-range, I felt that it was more likely that participants would a) understand the topic of my inquiry, b) be able to provide richer data from their experiences, and c) gain the most benefit from both taking part in the research and, potentially, from when the research is completed.

2. Students will study multiple classes with multiple teachers
My students safety, security, confidentiality and anonymity are at the top of my list when it comes to undertaking this research. It would be unforgivable for me to place any student of mine in a situation where they felt embarrassed, betrayed, let down or, worst of all, where they felt unable to attend certain lessons or even the dance school as a result of my incompetence or ignorance. This said, the reason for choosing students studying more than one lesson a week and with more than one teacher within the school affords two potential benefits,
  1. Generalisations of, for example, 'who did what to whom' are much harder to identify if the student is attending several classes. This better protects the students, hopefully stopping them from worrying about things like, for example, 'what if my teacher finds out I'm talking about her' or 'I can't say that in case...' There is also, then, more protection afforded the teachers within the school and other pupils too. 
  2. By attending multiple classes with multiple teachers the potential for data is expanded as participants will not only be doing more than one hour a week of dancing but will also be able to drawn on experiences from different styles of teaching, different locations, times, class dynamics/ sizes, etc.
3. Students will not be considering a career in dance
This was included for two reasons, 1) there is already research on professional dance students, for example, in The Student Dancer by Julia Buckroyd, and 2) students who have a desire to pursue a career in dance will have that added level of motivation - to be a success within the field.

Plus, due to the short time-frame and limited resources of this inquiry, I felt it was necessary that all pupils invited were taught by me for at least one of their lessons - to afford greater access to the participants, and vice-versa - and will mean that I will already have built up a certain level of (two-way) trust with each one, which I hope will allow for a more relaxed, honest, and open form of communication.

I used these factors to go through the school registers to select my participants, crossing out all that didn't meet the first two, and then using my knowledge of my students to disregard those that I knew had ambitions to pursue a career in dance. It  left me with, quite fortuitously, a very limited number of pupils, which I decided would be a feasible, although challenging, number of participants. It also allowed for the possibility that some students might not wish to take part, or that might drop out at a later date, without making the sample size too small.
(N.B. I do not feel that it would be at all appropriate for me to ask a second batch of students to 'make up numbers' if there were any negative respondents - how 'valued' would those students feel!!)

Having selected the students to whom I would give letters I then set about creating a letter of consent. I made a couple of changes to the letter I had created for my gatekeepers - based on the BAPP practitioner model consent form (Unknown, 2012) - keeping the language and content exactly the same and just changing the subject from principal to participant. I also wanted, very strongly, to give each student the autonomy to say yes or no to participating in my study, even though I knew I had to gain consent from a parent/ guardian too. To achieve this I wrote the letter to the student not the parent/ guardian, and asked for, firstly, the student to sign and date the letter, then, secondly, the parent/ guardian to sign and date it, then, thirdly, I would sign and date it.

Each letter was given out in a sealed envelope, with the inquiry aims, objectives document attached, and after a brief verbal exchange between myself and each student. It was really inspiring to see the level of enthusiasm with which my letters were received and each student immediately said they'd like to take part. I responded with equal enthusiasm but pointed out that I would like them to talk to their parents about it and that it needed to be signed, but they all felt that their parents would be 'ok' about it too.

I have now received all letters back giving consent to participate in my project, with some equally enthusiastic responses from parents (along with some equally interesting discussions but that's not for this post!), for which I am very pleased, grateful, excited, but also feeling, more than ever, the responsibility I now have to repay my students for their generosity, and the parents for their support too, with an inquiry that is fulfilling, interesting, fun, engaging and worthwhile.

So, it's back to the books and on with the planning...

Buckroyd, J. (2000). The student dancer: Emotional aspects of the teaching and learning of dance. Dance Books Ltd.

Denscombe, M. (2010). The good research guide: for small-scale social research projects. Open University Press.

Fraser, S. 2004. Doing research with children and young people. London: Sage Publications

Greene, S. and Hogan, D. 2005. Researching children's experience. London: SAGE

Unknown. 2012. Model consent form for practitioner inquiry. [e-book] LONDON: Institute for Work Based Learning. p. 1. Available through: Middlesex University [Accessed: 18th July 2013].

Monday, 12 August 2013


I have been trying to use those little bits of time, that I often find myself wasting, to get some more reading done, so that I can approach the next term's project from as informed a starting point as possible.
As I've been reading I've been making notes, scribbling down thoughts, and gathering ideas into my journal. I want to share some of them on this post, but without any sense of artistry or refinement, so that not only will I be reflecting on them again in typing but will have an idea, through what I select and what I don't, of what is really important to me at this stage in the process.

1. 31st July 2013
To research confidently, ethically and with informed direction and content I need to understand three things,

                    Student perspectives on motivation in the dance class

Student - researching 'with' not 'on' (France, 2004), gaining trust and not making false claims (Kellett et al, 2004), eliciting true and honest responses from participants (Greene and Hill, 2005), maintaining the 3 P's - protect, provide, participate (Anderson, 2004), provide opportunity within the inquiry for meaningful experience that is relevant to all (Emond, 2005).

Perspectives - inform students (about inquiry, about their role, etc.), allow students to 'create' their interview so as to give maximum opportunity to voice experiences and thoughts - seeing student as social actor not passive recipient (Robinson and Kellett, 2004; Kellett et al, 2004; Fraser and Robinson, 2004), not imposing my ideas as to what should and shouldn't be included in the interview (Fraser, 2004), being aware of my own framing of what 'students' are - their competencies, understanding and value (Westcott & Littleton, 2005)

Motivation - What is it? Why is it important? Can it be enhanced and if so, how? (Sass, 1989; Stinson, 1992) How do I explain it to my students without adding in my interpretation or leading them along a particular way of thinking? Does my understanding of motivation (in particular within the framework of 'the dance class') have any bearing on my inquiry? - acknowledge awareness and accept any limitations.

N.B. The following 'scribblings' will reflect that I am, currently, still concerned with gaining as much knowledge as possible on how best to gather 'student perspectives' as I feel that unless I understand this aspect of my inquiry I will not be able to truly give my students the forum to voice their thoughts on, and experiences of, motivation within the dance class - thus rendering my inquiry valueless!
I will, of course, also need to develop my knowledge of motivation.

2. 29th July 2013 &12th August
Interview design:
  • take paper, pens, etc. and ask how student would like to share experiences/ideas? - give control over to student taking power away from researcher...
  • researcher asks questions? - thereby framing the data to be 'extracted' from the participants (Westcott & Littleton, 2005) 
  • researcher and participant create areas of discussion through negotiation and discourse? - trust is built between both parties, value is placed not only on what student has to say but however they feel it is best presented to the researcher.  
  • scatter diagrams/ white board on which to stick post-it notes? - more inclusive than just answering researchers questions or creating narrative accounts of experiences as it allows for shy or verbally insecure students input.
  • read from diary? - might open the door to discourse and/ or jog memory of a particular feeling or event but could then be subject to hindsight and revision
  • let student just talk about experiences? - takes researcher/ participant a step away from 'giving/ getting the right answer' but, depending on student, this might be nerve-wracking or lead to creation of fantasy or embellishment.

The design of my interview must involve thinking not only about student but about myself too, for example, what is my role within the interview? Am I 'looking for the correct answer to the right question?' Am I approaching my inquiry from the point of view of knowing better than my students or am I listening to each one as expert in their own life? (Westcott & Littleton, 2005).

In creating the right 'mood' for the interview perhaps a statement of my intentions, for example,
"I am asking you to help me with my research in the hopes that I will be able to:
  • listen,
  • better understand, and
  • learn
what motivates students in the dance class."
Then follow this up with, "What do you want to get out of this interview?" or "What made you feel that you wanted to participate in this project?"
By putting both sides 'wants' or needs out in the open I would hope to
  1. build trust,
  2. share power equally (or more equally),
  3. create a collaborative nature to the interview, and/ or
  4. have the opportunity to clarify any over-stretching hopes that the student might have for the inquiry, for example, that this research will change the world, etc!
(Westcott & Littleton, 2005; Roberts, 2004)

3. 6th August
Interview setting needs to be considered carefully to minimise potential harm to student (and researcher):
  • safe environment?
  • relaxing environment?
  • private environment?
If I interview in my studio will this reinforce my position as teacher thereby putting pressure on student to give 'right' answers or hold back on what they really want to say? Perhaps using an empty restroom or changing area puts me into their 'territory' and therefore giving student more power? How about asking the student?! (Greene & Hill, 2005).

If area is isolated am I putting both student and myself at risk from outsider danger? Perhaps somewhere private but not far from other people?

Arrangement of room could add to pressure on student if, for example, it takes place in the principals office where students are summoned when in trouble and researcher takes principals seat?

What about protecting myself from possible harm? Keep interview room door open at all times but sit away from door to maintain confidentiality?

(Emond, 2005; Westcott & Littleton, 2005)

4. 3rd August 2013
By choosing students who take classes with multiple teachers within the school - to help eliminate potential harm from identification; to give more variety in experience of motivation - have I reduced the wider application of my research? By definition do my participants have:
  • greater intrinsic dance enthusiasm,
  • stronger friendships/ greater social networks within the dance class,
  • come from wealthier families,
and does this affect motivation?
Does it matter? Should I acknowledge this possibility in my report? And does it all depend on what my students reveal to me?

This also raises the issue of 'who is excluded' again - should I take steps to explain why those not asked were excluded. Yes, I think so - it may be that by not being asked to take part some students might feel under-valued, unimportant, 'not good enough', etc.
So first week back of the term address any classes where there are students of similar ages and explain reasons behind who was asked and who was not.

In (a kind of) conclusion I can see that everything above, and, indeed, the whole crux of how I approach, plan and conduct my research, relies on the answer to a very important question:
Am I looking to provide theoretical frameworks and/ or definitive answers on the topic of motivation to other teachers/ educators/ etc. or is my aim to listen, understand and provide a written interpretation of my students voices around the subject of motivation in the dance class that may provide insight to me, as teacher, and to others on the benefits of giving value to students thoughts and experiences?

N.B. I hope that my answer to this question, if not already clear to you, will become apparent over the next few months as I continue to blog about my journey.


Anderson, P. 2004. Ethics. In: Fraser, S., Lewis, V., Ding, S., Kellett, M. and Robinson, C. eds. 2004. Doing Research with Children and Young People. London: Sage, pp. 97-112.

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