Motivation to write: A conceptual review of the literature

Motivation to write: A conceptual review of the literature

First Author: Ana Camacho -- University of Porto
Additional authors/chairs: 
Rui A. Alves; Pietro Boscolo
Abstract / Summary: 

Purpose: Writing requires the interplay of cognitive, motivational, and sociocultural factors Previous studies showed that motivation plays a key role in students’ writing performance. Nevertheless, conceptual problems are pervasive in writing motivation research. Albeit the efforts of researchers in organizing and linking contributions of past studies, a conceptual map of motivational constructs in writing is lacking. This interactive paper reports a conceptual review which aimed at: 1) synthetizing the main trends of writing motivation studies published from 2000 onwards; 2) examining how motivational constructs are defined; 3) proposing a conceptual map of motivational constructs in writing.

Method: The conceptual review was conducted following the principles of PRISMA statement. Empirical papers focused on motivational constructs in writing were enrolled through database, hand, and legacy searches. Records were firstly screened by abstract and afterwards by reading the full-text. Papers were examined according to a descriptive coding scheme and to a definitional clarity scheme based proposed by Murphy and Alexander (2000).

Results and conclusions: There is a regular publication of writing motivation research on motivation to write on the last 17 years. Most of the studies were conducted in the USA, with Europe and Asia also represented (averaging 10 papers yearly). Self-efficacy was the most studied construct. Elementary and middle school students were the group most studied and quantitative data analysis is predominant. Furthermore, conceptualization problems, such as vague definitions and different constructs used as synonyms, were frequent. We conclude by discussing a conceptual map of motivational constructs in writing.