A two-part study was undertaken with students enrolled in a first year university subject (development psychology). The theory of achievement goals formed the framework for the study. The first part of the study was designed to delineate students' perceptions of the motivational 'climate' of the subject and to relate these perceptions to other theoretically relevant variables, including reported use of effective learning strategies and a positive approach to learning. To do this, students completed two questionnaires, one half-way through the year and another at the end of the year. The second part of the study was an examination of students' reactions to one aspect of the subject (the major assignment) that was structured specifically to enhance students' mastery goal orientation. Aspects addressed included the nature of the task, evaluation procedures, amount of control given to students, and the option of working collaboratively or independently. In addition to questionnaire data, 54 students were interviewed about completing the major assignment to ascertain whether or not their reactions reflected those predicted by achievement goal theory.
Educational Psychology: an International Journal of Experimental Educational Psychology Vol. 18, Issue 2, p. 205-223