The Effect of Early Adolescents’ Psychological Needs Satisfaction upon Their Perceived Competence in Information Skills and Intrinsic Motivation for Research

Marilyn P. Arnone, Syracuse University
Rebecca Reynolds, Syracuse University School of Information Studies
Todd Marshall, Syracuse University School of Information Studies

Description/Abstract

The American Association of School Librarians’ Standards for the 21st Century Learner make clear that information skills alone are not sufficient for student success; students must also value those skills, use them in a productive and responsible manner, and have the motivational “dispositions in action” to support successful research and independent lifelong learning. Self-determination theory highlights perceived competence and autonomy as two basic psychological needs that support intrinsically-motivated behavior. This study investigates the extent to which context factors inherent to the school library influence students’ perceived competence in the domain of information skills (PCIS), and their intrinsic motivation for research (IMR). The study explores this relationship among 1272 eighth grade 13-year old students in 20 states. Findings indicate that student perceptions of their school librarian’s autonomy supportiveness and their perceptions of the librarian’s technology competence contribute significantly to PCIS and IMR. These findings are important in that they highlight the important role that the school librarian may play in influencing student affect towards the activity of information uses and research, and likely their consequent learning outcomes.