A Critical Review Of “A Comparison Of Active And Passive Procrastination In Relation To Academic Motivation” By Eun Hee Seo

  An In-depth critique of A Comparison of Active and Passive Procrastination in Relation to Academic Motivation by Eun Hee Seo

From the onset, the researcher readily acknowledges that few types of research have ever delved into what many would term an “unconventional” view of the relationship that exists between an individual’s motivation and procrastination. She takes note of this gap in previous research with her purpose being to conduct a study that points out the distinction that exists between passive and active procrastination. The goal stated is evident as it indicates that it would deal with the issues under contention by ensuring that the study was within the confines of the Self-Determination Theory. It was a prudent move by the researcher to include the survey within the theoretical framework of a motivational theory. The premise of the argument is the fundamental tendency that an individual possesses that aids them to embrace efficacy in demeanour. It is an important component since it deals with issues of intrinsic motivation that drives individual through life.

The researcher does a superb job of presenting the literature review before setting her current research in motion. She does this by logically introducing the reader to the assortment of opinions held by different researchers. The goal is to bring the audience up to speed with developments in procrastination perspectives and how these earlier held assumptions were instrumental in informing her study. It offers a precise balance regarding the critical analysis by presenting a plethora of views that researchers have maintained over the years. For instance, she examines opinions by researchers who firmly believe that the definition procrastination should be all-inclusive by also including psychological distress (Solomon & Rothblum, 1984). At the same time, she incorporates extreme views by other authors who choose to only focus on dilatory behaviour as the primary cause of postponement (Alexander & Onwuegbuzie, 2007). All these studies are empirical with a comprehensive timeline, from 1977 to 2011. By so doing, the author provides a holistic view of the subject matter.

The author also clearly states the hypotheses of the study. Her research question states that she seeks to examine whether or not the relationship exists between active procrastination and an individual’s subsequent academic motivation is dissimilar from one between passive procrastination and academic motivation (Seo, 2013, p. 777). Her study necessarily focuses on unchartered territory where no other researcher seems to have dared enter. Moreover, her hypothesis is categorical in stating that contrary to popular belief, differences exist between active and passive procrastination. It is consistent with the literature review where researchers such as Lee and Vansteenkiste et al. concluded that there was negative correlation in the case of identification (12). Other researchers such as Senécal et al. (1995) argued that a simple correlation analysis on procrastination would establish a distinction between the two types of procrastination under scrutiny (612).

It is however vital to acknowledge that Dr. Eun Hee Seo does not go deep into the ethical standards applied in her study. She only makes mention of the 278 Korean students that took part in the study and that they answered the questionnaires voluntarily. It is not clear whether the participants were even remotely aware of the nature of the research that they are participating in. Participants need to understand what the study entails to ensure that they are comfortable answering the questions. Furthermore, the researcher does not mention whether or not the confidentiality of the participants was guaranteed as often stipulated in the ethical standards. Privacy of the subjects in question is a vital tenet of a researchers work as it ensures that those taking part do not feel uncomfortable revealing sensitive information. Nonetheless, Dr Eun Hee Seo is a seasoned and highly respected researcher who is why I would like to assume that all the standard operating procedures were communicated to the participants before commencing.

The study does not fully explain the operational definitions. A few terms marked as “keywords” are discussed in the literature review section to enable the reader to have a grasp of the foundation of the research while others such as identification and intrinsic motivation are left out. Additionally, it is quite surprising that the author did not define the Self-Determination theory even when it was clear that the study would be conducted within its theoretical framework. The theory is particularly critical because it explains fundamental tendencies that individuals possess in embracing efficacy in their demeanour, a fundamental requirement in the study. Dr Eun Hee Seo uses Chu and Choi (2005) perspective in defining active procrastination as two distinct variables. Active procrastinators are therefore thought to make conscious decisions to procrastinate and can achieve impossible feats when put under extreme pressure to beat deadlines. Conversely, the researcher defines passive procrastinators as individuals who wait until the last minute to complete a given task and may fail to deliver due to despair. I opine that these two definitions were the most important ones and it’s quite commendable that the author spelt them out succinctly.

The researcher establishes a precise methodology for researching by involving participants from a wide range of disciplines with the intention of diversifying the demography chosen. Furthermore, a description of the method of data collection is given with the author stating that the test subjects had to fill a questionnaire meant to establish active and passive procrastination together with the types of academic motivation involved. It was an appropriate measure since the data would be used to review the variables in the study. Furthermore, the study also suggested reliability and validity tests through the criteria used. They were vital in providing data that was meant to prove the validity of the claims made by the author on procrastination.

The study uses inter-correlation and regression as data analysis methods that would be vital in providing conclusive results. The sample that contained the much-needed data consisted of 278 undergraduate students from South Korean universities.  Various measures were utilized in the study to provide information that was both accurate and reliable. The Active Procrastination Scale was used alongside the questionnaire to give the required Cronbach’s alpha reliability threshold. Experts in educational psychology also participated in assessing the Aitken Procrastination Inventory to establish different procrastination levels. After conducting the two-step regression analysis, it was soon determined that intrinsic motivation played a vital role in external regulation. The motivational variables used would account for 11% in the case of passive procrastination while a negative predictor was in play. Active motivation would be on the other hand account for only 6% of the data’s discrepancy.

The discussion of the findings was closely linked back to those in the literature review section. The study’s initial purpose was to examine whether or not the relationship exists between active procrastination and an individual’s subsequent academic motivation is dissimilar from one between passive procrastination and academic motivation (Seo, 2013, p. 777). Students with non-autonomous motivation would rarely defer from their studies but were found to be passive procrastinators. The presence of an external regulator was also responsible for increasing the level of active procrastination. These findings were consistent with those mentioned in the literature review section, especially Chu and Choi (2005) who posited that there was a negative relationship between the extrinsic motivation and active procrastination. A limitation noted during the study was using the self-report method in measuring the levels of academic motivation. The author also acknowledges that there were stark differences between the variables from a behavioural and cognitive dimension. It is for this reason that she suggests the incorporation of some methods essential in complementing the results.

The study also used the APA referencing style in the correctly throughout the article. The author uses the author-year technique for all texts that have been paraphrased while also including the page number whenever quotations from books are used. In the case of journals used, the author includes their Digital Object Identifier (DOI) found in the article’s database. Moreover, the in-text citations for all journals used the author surname, year technique for all information that was paraphrased.

In conclusion, Dr Eun Hee Seo successfully carried a study that established a relationship between active procrastination and individual’s extrinsic motivation level. She is primarily setting a precedent for the identification of the inverse relationship that exists between regulation and procrastination. Through this study, the hypothesis that there exists a distinct difference between an active and passive procrastinator was confirmed which will essentially invite other researchers to study the notion.

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