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Davut Nhem, M.A. (TESOL), Institute of Foreign Languages, Royal University of Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Annotated Bibliography

Topic: The Investigation of EFL Students’ Motivation in Writing

I. Research Questions

1. What is motivation? And what are the sources of students’ motivation?

3. What are key factors contributing to students’ motivation for the improvement of English writing?

1.  Ozademir, E., & Aydin, S. (2015). The effects of Wikis on Motivation in EFL writing. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 191, 2359-2363.

The paper presents a review of literature, which is based on secondary data, regarding the effects of wikis on students’ motivation in writing English. It begins with the discussion of importance of writing which can help students in controlling learning process and determining the actual level of students’ knowledge in communicative competence. This study also stresses the importance of motivation, in terms of that the attitudes of students in writing determine the success of their improvement in writing. For this reason, students who hold positive attitude seem to perform better in their writing. After debating the significance of writing and motivation, the authors provide brief discussion on the theoretical framework on wikis as a means of language learning, preferably in writing. The theories that are in relation with wikis in language learning are included: constructivism, collaborative learning, situated cognition, autonomous learning, and self-determination. In the end, the authors review the results of Li’s et al. (2012) research on writing among 59 primary Chinese students, Ducate’s et al (2011) research on exploring three different wiki projects, and Nakamaru’s findings over a community college. The results show that students have more motivation in writing under the collaboration with their peers and teacher, and also claim that wikis play vital role in overcoming students’ negative feeling toward writing. Even though this study is a secondary data research, it is reliable as it is presented in Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences Journal and it has a large number of references reviewed. The authors elaborate a comprehensive introduction and theoretical framework, discussions, and conclusion. This article provides me with paramount significance to understanding the sources of students’ motivation in ELT writing, especially the theories of learning which I employ those theories in formulating theoretical framework and conceptual framework.

2. Coman, L. M., Nutu, C. I., & Dumitrescu, I. C. (2015). Improving Functional Texts Writing Skills in English as a Foreign Language. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 203, 168-172.

The research paper explores the ways of improving students’ writing skills in English, with interest in functional texts. It presents that, with the globalization of economy, functional competences have become crucial role in communication. Therefore, it is believed that if students’ writing tasks are given based on their fields of interest, they will have high motivation to develop their writing consequently. The research was conducted by giving questionnaire to a group of 19 seventh graders to choose their own interest activities during their free time and writing task was given accordingly. Students were required to complete written task through online, which was Facebook. The criteria for the evaluation of students’ performance were evaluation grids and progress charts which were included cohesion, format, style, vocabulary, accuracy, and effective communication. By analyzing the results, the authors found that homework has become pleasurable for students and their writing has been improved significantly as the topics were connected to real life experience. The authors also suggest that students become interested in doing school work via social media such as Facebook as they can communicate information easily. This study provides reliable information due to the fact that the authors reviewed other related articles and presents articulate data and procedures of conducting research appropriately. This article brings my intention to the importance of functional texts which can be one source of motivating students to develop their writing effectively in communication and it can be used in formulating theoretical framework conceptual framework in my study.  

3. Shourafa, A. A. THE EFFECT OF MOTIVATION ON JORDANIAN 10TH GRADE STUDENTS' WRITING SKILL IN ENGLISH. European Scientific Journal, 8 (22), 235-247.'

This paper aims to explore the influence of motivation on students’ writing performance among Jordanian 10th grade students in Al-karak Directorate of Education. In this study, researcher developed three questions, included the level students’ motivation in general, important differences in students’ writing skills, and the difference between internal and external motivation to be answered. The author also described the significances of motivation from both educational and psychological perspectives. From psychological view, motivation affects students’ learning performance in four ways such as increasing learners’ energy and activity level, shaping students toward specific goals, promoting students’ persistence and finally affecting learners’ strategies and learning cognitive. Similarly educational psychologists has long supported that motivation is the key factor to help students learn. The researcher conducted this study by randomly selecting (198) male and female students from Alkarak secondary school for boys and Alkarak secondary school for girls. The participants were given a questionnaire of 35 items. The results of this research showed that the level of motivation significantly caused the differences in the level of extrinsic and intrinsic motivation, and it was likely that the increase in level of these types of motivation is due to the level of stimulation. This research paper possesses reliability in terms of its detail procedures and tools of conducting research, as well as strong support from other literatures. This article gives me with significant ideas to focus on the level of motivation toward students’ writing improvement and it is helpful in writing theoretical framework and conceptual framework in my research study.

4. Lo, J., & Hyland, F. (2007). Enhancing students’ engagement and motivation in writing: The case study of primary school in Hong Kong. Journal of Second Language Writing, 16, 219-237.

This research aims to study the impact of implementation of a new ESL writing program over young ESL Chinese learners’ motivation and engagement in writing English with a focus on students’ socio-cultural context. The study examined the students’ and teachers’ perception towards the new program and viewed its effect on students’ improvement in their writing performance. The research took place at a primary school in Hong Kong, where English language is a medium instruction in learning. The researchers allocated 6 weeks for employing old writing program which the topics, included in the course syllabus for years, were given to students to write. Writers were also provided structures and intended pictures from their teacher. After that, the new writing program was introduced to students in another 6 weeks. This program gave writing tasks which are more relevant to students’ life experience by providing real audience and purpose of writing. The result of the experiment showed that the students’ engagement was slightly high in the new program, and students wrote considerable words in the same time limit, especially underachieving students. However, they were likely to produce more grammatical mistakes in the new program for a certain reason. Finally, the authors suggested that teachers should survey the topics of students’ interest when they provide writing tasks to students, as this can encourage students to express their own opinion and write better in their work. Though students seem to make many errors, for the long term, the new program would gain more benefits. This article can be reliable as it has provided clear findings and discussion with a number of discussions of literatures reviewed. It is also accepted by Journal of Second Language Writing. This research provides me with a comprehensive insight regarding the socio-cultural concept which can be used as a means to form theoretical framework in my research. It will probably help me to make claim of my findings in discussion.

5. Deneme, S. (2011). A lesson Model for Enhancing Motivation in EFL Writing Classes. Theory and Practice in Language Studies, 1(7), 785-788.

The study aims to investigate the effectiveness of a lesson model for enhancing students’ motivation and improvement in writing English by implementing content-based instruction approach. The research was conducted with 23 intermediate-level students who were learning English as a foreign language at a university in Turkey. The participants were freshman students, doing their degree in Tourism at the university. The theme of the lesson was selected based on students’ interest. The lesson was divided into pre-while-and-post writing stage. The researcher assigned students into groups to have a discussion about their favorite holiday resorts, and then relevant words were provided to students. In while-writing stage, students were required to write an E-mail to customer who was seeking for advice about a summer holiday. After that stage, students had to write a package tour the Maldives individually. The data collection was done by classroom observation and product analysis. The result revealed that students were enjoying and engaging in the class and they considered that lesson beneficial because it was related to their interest and field of study (Tourism). This article is reliable as it was conducted by a professional researcher and accepted by Theory and Practice in Language Studies Journal. Moreover, it also displays the lesson plan as well as a clear process of doing research. This study provides me with a deep insight regarding socio-cultural concept by employing content-based instruction. The ideas from this article can be used to write literature review and introduction, and to formulate data collection tool in my research.   

6. Mali, Y. C. G. (2015). Motivational Factors in the Indonesian EFL writing classroom. Bahasa & Sastra, 15 (1).'

This article presents findings of the investigation on factors which can motivate EFL Indonesian students to write English. The study took place at Faculty of Language and Literature, Satya Wacana Christian University (ED-SWCU) and there were 19 freshmen students whose ages were between 18 to 19 years old at a Creative Writing class. The author employed qualitative approach in conducting this study by following grounded theory approach (Strauss and Corbin, 1990, as stated in Neuman, 2006) that a theory is constructed from grounded data, and adapting a situated approach which determines how learning context affects learners’ motivation and how motivation impacts learners’ success in learning. To obtain the data, the author implemented students’ reflective journals which the participants wrote around twenty minutes before the end of the class monthly over three months. When analyzing the data, the author collected the data into themes and the result revealed that the teacher positive performance is vital part of motivational factor, followed by inspiring classmates and other factors such as parents and classroom atmosphere. Finally, the author suggests that teacher should communicate with parents in providing information regarding their students’ learning performance. Though this study appears on journal which is not widely recognized, it is reliable as the researcher had adapted good method of conducting research and displays articulate findings and discussion, plus with a large number of literature reviews from other researchers. This study is a significant pilot of my research which I can adapt data collocation tool and data interpretation method for my research and it allows me to deeply understand the factors that impact on students’ motivation which I can use to write theoretical and conceptual frameworks.

7. Karakas, A. Motivational Attitude of ELT students towards using computer for writing and communication. English Teaching with Technology, 11(3), 37-53.

The article aims to determine the possibility of students' positive motivation towards the implementation of computer in English writing and communication. The researcher conducted the study over 45 first grade ELT students of Mehmet Akif Ersoy University by using a questionnaire adapted from Warschauer (1996). The questionnaire was divided into two parts: students' knowledge of the computer and their perception regarding the use of computer for writing and communication. The study took 45 minutes in one class for the participants to complete the questionnaire. After the data collection, the researcher coded the items into SPSS 15.0 software, analyzing by employing descriptive statistic tools. In the first part of the research, the result presented that students' computer knowledge is comparatively good while another showed that in personal aspect, computer has no significant role in motivating most students to write. However, the author was somewhat skeptical with the finding if the learners' knowledge of PC might affect students' attitude towards using computer for learning and still makes assertion the importance of using computer in learning. As a result, the author still recommends that computer should be integrated in language learning, especially in higher level. This article is reliable as the author employed good data collection method, plus a large number of literature reviews and makes claim about the strengths and weaknesses of the research finding. The concept of using computer in writing class is interesting and I can use this finding to make theoretical framework and conceptual framework in my research study.

8. Bonyadi, A., & Zeinalpur, S. (2014). Perceptions of Students Towards Self-selection and Teacher-assigned Topics in EFL writing. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 98, 385-391.

The research paper, conducted by using qualitative approach on 30 MA students doing English degree, aims to investigate students’ perceptions towards the written task topics selected by students themselves and those assigned by teacher, and what implications students’ perception have for writing instruction. The participants were given optional topics “Self-selected topics and Teacher-assigned topics” and required to write a five-paragraph essay on the allocation of time 90 minutes. Students were allowed to consult with dictionary while writing the essay. Grammatical errors were not considered as the main purpose of the study was to explore students’ perceptions of the task. The results were collected based on emerging themes which were divided into two categories: students’ chosen topics and teacher-assigned topics. This study revealed that students were commonly motivated to write more when they chose their own preferred topics, which this concept was in line with other researchers such as Wolf (2013), Threadkell (2010) and Fresch (2005) though there were some students held positive opinions towards the topics chosen by their teacher. Finally, the authors concludes that teachers should take writing topics into consideration by examining students’ preference on the topics before asking them to write or if the topics are given by teacher, the teacher should do brainstorming ideas or allow students to discuss in class so that they could have more ideas to write. This article remains its reliability as it has good methods of collecting data and discussed the results in comparison to other previous researchers’ findings. The result of this study significantly contributes to the development of theoretical and conceptual frameworks in my research.

9. Lam, S.F., & Law, Y. K. (2007). The Roles of Instructional Practice and Motivation in Writing Performance. Journal of Experimental Education, 75 (2), 145-164.

This study aims to explore what factors and process of teaching instruction influence students’ motivation in English writing performance over 6 trainee teachers and 209 secondary-school students in Hong Kong. The research was conducted based on the conceptual frameworks such as real-life relevance, stimulated curiosity, high level of autonomy, recognized students’ effort, and providing constructive feedback. The participant trainees, who attended an 8-week internship, taught expository writing to students at the end of their internship. The lesson was divided into three sessions, each of which lasted 40 minutes. The first and second sessions were taught the same day while the last one was done a week after. In the third session, the teacher trainees provided constructive comments on students’ writing and after the end of the session when the trainees left the classroom, students were given a questionnaire in Chinese to complete. The questionnaire was measured by instructional practices, students’ self-reported motivation, writing performance, and baseline performance. The result presented that students are more motivated when they are given challenging tasks, relating to their real-life experience, stimulating their curiosity, and promoting their autonomy, teacher recognizes their effort in doing tasks, and provides useful feedback for their improvement in writing. The authors also recommend that teachers need to motivate their students first so that the students can perform better in their writing. This research holds its reliability in terms of its effective method and articulate procedure of conducting research, as well as the review of a large body of literatures. This article provides me with significant insight on related areas of students’ motivation in writing. I can employ the results of this study to develop conceptual framework in my research study and also adapt data collection tool.

10. Tran, L. T. (2007). Learners’ Motivation and Identity in the Vietnamese EFL Writing Classroom. English Teaching: Practice and Critique, 6 (1), 151-163. 


This study is intended to investigate the issues of learners’ motivation and identity in Vietnamese EFL writing classroom from students’ perspectives. The thirty participated students, who were doing a degree in English major in their third year at a university in Vietnam, took the questionnaire to fill. The tool of this study was questionnaire which was included open-ended questions allowing students to contribute their perspectives towards their motivation and expectation in learning EFL writing. The questionnaire also examined the syllabus documents for writing subject and the textbook which was being used for teaching and learning. The data collections of this research were merged based on their relevant themes such as external elements, linguistic needs, audience, teacher’s enthusiasm, teaching techniques, learning activities, topics for writing, passion and inspiration. The results presented that students are motivated to write, not only just for high scores, but also when receiving constructive feedback and expectation from teacher while the intention to write English proficiently is also considered as an important source of students’ motivation. Secondly, the audience also is a vital element of encouraging students to write. When they are writing to the real audience, they seem to pay high attention and be more careful about their writing. Another significant point is the teacher’s enthusiasm in providing useful comments on their writing which could allow students to see their progress, weaknesses and improvement in writing. Similarly, other areas such topics for writing, teaching-and-learning activities, passion and inspiration in writing, also play crucial role in helping students develop their writing. Finally, the author claims that even though this study seems to be in contrast to the other view that students are motivated for better marks, teachers should look into what students need and what motivate them to write. This research article is reliable as the author employed effective method in collection data and analyzing data. The author also tried to compare the results with a large number of literature reviews and makes a stand in his/her own view. This article considerably helps me write literature review and form conceptual framework as well as formulate data collection method for my research.