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Educational Psychology Research Guide: Motivation: Designing a Strategy Toolbox

A guide to resources in educational psychology

The Assignment

Build a toolbox for Chapter 10, "Motivation and Learning".

The tools may be:

  • key concepts from the chapter or
  • specific strategies

Include 4 professional tools & 4 personal tools.

Gather references to help with your understanding of motivation tools & to find examples of selected strategies.

Create a list of References in APA style (see the tab above for Citing Sources).

Suggested Search Terms & Searches

Searching for Books & Articles

Searching the Catalog for Books (see the Find Books tab above)

When searching for books on motivation for this class, search by subject for the subject heading:

  • Motivation in education

This search should result in books that include information on the various concepts discussed in Chapter 10.

In the book catalog you should search more broadly than when searching for articles.  Use more specific terms relating to motivation for article searches.

For books about people, search by subject:

  • Maslow, Abraham

For book by a person, search by author:

  • Maslow, Abraham

Search Research Databases (see the Find Articles tab above)

Suggested search terms for motivation topics:

  • NOTE:  Motivation in education does not work as a subject phrase in the research databases
    • Use motivation and education
    • Try the Advanced Search--search those concepts as subjects using the drop down menu
  • These concepts are also subject headings:
    • learning motivation
    • academic aspiration
    • learner engagement
    • learning strategies
    • intentional learning
    • self motivation
    • self actualization
    • self concept
    • self efficacy
    • self reward
    • incentives
    • student motivation
    • competence
    • self determination
    • beliefs
    • intelligence
    • values
    • for assessment
      • use evaluation
    • for outcomes
      • use educational objectives, instructional effectiveness, outcome measure, student educational objectives
  • Any additional concepts mentioned in the chapter should be searched as keywords


  • The language used by the textbook author/s and by your instructor may or may not be the best language to use when searching databases.
  • When your search is not successful, think of other ways to say the concept/idea and search with those words.
  • The goal is to learn the language of the tool you are using for the best search results.

Getting Started

Consider starting your research by consulting titles provided under the Reference Resources tab above.

Reference sources are intended to provide an overview of a topic, definitions, etc.  They can assist with identifying additional search terms when a topic is difficult to put into words.  They can lead you to additional sources.

Suggested titles in print:

  • The Praeger Handbook of Education and Psychology REF LB1051 P635 2007
  • Encyclopedia of Educational Psychology Ref LB 1050.9 E63 2008
  • Handbook of Educational Psychology Ref LB 1051 H2354 2006

Suggested ebooks:

Selected Print Books

Research Log

The research log is a tool for recording the research process or activities.  It prevents repetition of searches and duplication of effort

The research log assists with:

  • selection of search terms
  • assessing choice of sources & research strategy
  • organization of research time
  • documentation of sources
  • planning for future research