Understanding Student Engagement with Research: A Study of Pre-service Teachers’ Research Perceptions, Research Experience, and Motivation

May 2016

Source: Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, Vol. 44, No. 2, 172–187, 2016.
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

This study aimed to determine whether past research experience and pre-existing motivation style influence pre-service teachers’ perceptions of research.

The authors collected data through an online survey instrument and two focus group interviews.
The participants were service teachers at a major metropolitan Australian university.
They engage with research, and the factors that influence their level of engagement or disengagement.

The participants who completed the survey included 43 males and 192 females.
They also included 193 undergraduates, and 42 graduates retraining as teachers.
The sample included participants from various subjects: twelve were studying early childhood education; 112 were studying primary education; and 106 were studying secondary education.

This study demonstrates that pre-service teachers generally display a positive attitude towards research, although these attitudes depend on their perceived research experience and also on their motivational styles.

Furthermore, the authors found that students who are intrinsically motivated with respect to their studies are more likely to enjoy research. They also more likely to believe that all pre-service teachers should learn about research during their undergraduate degree.
However, the findings also reveal that students who believe they possess research experience are more likely, compared to students who believe they do not possess such experience, to value research and support the university’s attempts to promote research at the undergraduate level.
The authors argue that the findings of this study suggest that one option to overcome students' reservations about research might be to provide them with research experience. 

Updated: Mar. 07, 2018