A qualitative analysis of statements on motivation of applicants for medical school

A. Wouters, A.H. Bakker, I.J. van Wijk, G. Croiset, R.A. Kusurkar

OnderzoeksoutputAcademicpeer review

15 Citaten (Scopus)
22 Downloads (Pure)

Samenvatting

Background Selection committees try to ascertain that motivated students are selected for medical school. Self-determination theory stresses that the type of motivation is more important than the quantity of motivation. Autonomous motivation, compared to controlled motivation, in students leads to better learning outcomes. Applicants can express their motivation in written statements, a selection tool which has been found to elicit heterogeneous responses, hampering the comparison of applicants. This study investigates the content of applicants’ statements on motivation for medical school in particular, the possibility to distinguish the type of motivation and the differences between selected and non-selected applicants. Methods A thematic analysis was conducted on written statements on motivation (n = 96), collected as a part of the selection procedure for the graduate entry program for medicine and research at our institution. Themes were identified as motivation-related and motivation-unrelated (additional). The motivation-related themes were further classified as autonomous and controlled types of motivation. Group percentages for each theme were compared between selected and non-selected applicants using Chi-square test and Fisher exact test. Results Applicants mainly described reasons belonging to autonomous type of motivation and fewer reasons belonging to controlled type of motivation. Additional themes in the statements included previous work experience and academic qualifications, ambitions, expectations and descriptions of the program and profession, personal qualities, and personal history. Applicants used strong words to support their stories. The selected and non-selected applicants did not differ in their types of motivation. Non-selected applicants provided more descriptions of personal history than selected applicants (p < 0.05). Conclusions The statement on motivation does not appear to distinguish between applicants in selection for medical school. Both selected and non-selected applicants reported mainly autonomous motivation for applying, and included a lot of additional information, which was beyond the scope of what was asked from them. The findings raise a question mark on the validity and reliability of the statement on motivation as a tool for selection. It could however be of added value to enable applicants to tell their story, which they appreciate, and to create awareness of the program, resulting in an informed decision to apply.
Originele taal-2English
TijdschriftBMC Medical Education
Volume14
DOI's
StatusPublished - 2014
Extern gepubliceerdJa

Citeer dit