Student motivation: a socio-economic perspective

Sandra Winn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Studies of student motivation, drawing on psychological theory, have identified learning, teaching and assessment strategies which are likely to enhance motivation. However, little attention has been paid to the impact on student motivation of recent changes in the social and economic context of higher education. This article uses qualitative data from interviews with students to provide a broader perspective on motivation. It was found that some students with demanding family or employment commitments were able to integrate the demands of the course into their lives, while others had little time available for academic work. There was also a group of students who had few commitments other than the course, but spent little time studying. It is suggested that the use of motivation-enhancing approaches to teaching will be limited unless there is also change at the level of government, to address the needs of those students whose childcare responsibilities impede their capacity to study.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)444-457
Number of pages14
JournalStudies in Higher Education
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2002


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