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Helping education undergraduates to use appropriate criteria for evaluating accounts of motivation

Soden, Rebecca and Maclellan, Effie (2005) Helping education undergraduates to use appropriate criteria for evaluating accounts of motivation. Studies in Higher Education, 30 (4). pp. 445-458. ISSN 0307-5079

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Abstract

The aim of the study was to compare students in a control group with those in a treatment group with respect to evaluative comments on psychological accounts of motivation. The treatment group systematically scrutinized the nature and interpretation of evidence that supported different accounts, and the assumptions, logic, coherence and clarity of accounts. Content analysis of 74 scripts (using three categories) showed that the control group students made more assertions than either evidential or evaluative points, whereas the treatment group used evaluative statements as often as they used assertion. The findings provide support for privileging activities that develop understanding of how knowledge might be contested, and suggest a need for further research on pedagogies to serve this end. The idea is considered that such understanding has a pivotal role in the development of critical thinking.