Motivation Among Engineering Students: A Qualitative Analysis


In recent years, it has emerged that the UK Engineering sector continuously experienced a low turnout of engineering graduates. Elucidations on this issue vary; yet most have been ambiguous. This is particularly noticeable among students belonging to minority groups. A matter that has the potential to shed light on this issue would be to understand the motivations that drive students into becoming engineers and in particular, their cultural and ethnic identities that affect them. Four undergraduate students were selected from each year of undergraduate study and participated in semi-structured interviews. The method used followed a grounded theory approach and the data was transcribed and analysed using NVivo. The interviews were analysed through open coding. The categories that emerged were used to build a number of models that built up towards four major themes: Degree, External Factors, Internal factors, and Motivation. It was found that the different types of motivations can be correlated with Murray's (1938) List of Needs. Analysis of the models showed that students often identified parents and lecturers as figures of significant influence and motivation. In particular, they stated the ethnic background of their parents as a factor that influences their motivation. These factors were also present in their choice of degree as well as how they felt about the support from their University. The findings show that ethnic minorities have a number of specific needs that may not be being met by Universities. They also identified the different motivations that influenced factors such as ethnicity.

Author Information
Dinesh Ramoo, University of Birmingham, United Kingdom
Iltaf Uddin, Aston University, United Kingdom

Paper Information
Conference: ECP2014
Stream: Qualitative/Quantitative Research in any other area of Psychology

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