The Relationship between Situational Interest and Individual Interest: How Can We Help Weaker Students by Means of an Instructional Shift from Trait to State Interest?

Project Number
OER 56/12 IJR

Project Duration
June 2013 - October 2016


The objective of this research project is to investigate the relationship between individual interest, a trait-like type of interest, and situational interest, a state-like type of interest. In addition, we would study how well both types of interests predict students' academic achievement. Currently, educational researchers and school practitioners tend to overemphasize the significance of the trait-like, individual interest of students as the most significant factor in student motivation and learning. Two studies will be conducted. The first study will shed more light on the question whether individual interest is indeed a most crucial determinant of students' situational interest and academic achievement, and if an instructional learning task aiming at increasing situational interest can compensate for low levels of individual interest (as it is the case among many academically weaker students). The second study will investigate longitudinally whether reinforcement by using situationally interesting instructional learning tasks positively influence students' cognitive engagement and eventually their individual interest and attitudes towards a school subject such as mathematics or science.

Funding Source

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