Motivating Students To Access Support Services In Higher Education: A Self-Determination Theory Perspective

  • Lynn Pickerell
Keywords: Self-determination theory, student support, student services, barriers, student engagement


Helping students with their academic and personal problems is a priority for higher education institutions. However, students may not seek support for the challenges they face. Self-determination theory frames this resistance to access services in terms of motivation.  Students who are experiencing problems are not motivated to address them because they feel incapable, incompetent and isolated.  In response to this, self-determination theory would advocate a support service that offers choice, skill-based problem solving and a collaborative approach.  This forms the basis of a proposed comparative study to explore whether these aspects of motivation correlate with engagement in student support services at the University of Lincoln.  Qualitative and quantitative data will be gathered from undergraduate students, in various disciplines, to explore the barriers to support engagement.  The study is planned to run from September 2018 to June 2019.