Science Diaries: a Brief Writing Intervention to Improve Motivation to Learn Science

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Educational Psychology


This study investigated the hypothesis that prompting students to self-assess their interest and understanding of science concepts and activities would increase their motivation in science classes. Students were randomly assigned to an experimental condition that wrote self-assessments of their competence and interest in science lessons or a control condition that wrote summaries of those same lessons. Writing activities were 10 min long and were given approximately once a week for eighteen weeks. Student motivation was assessed via self-report surveys for achievement goals and interest in science before and after the intervention. Students in the experimental condition showed higher endorsement of mastery goals and reported greater situational interest in science topics after the intervention compared to students who summarised the lessons. Increases in situational interest predicted higher individual interest in the domain. Results indicate an instructional practice requiring just 3 hours out of a semester of instruction was sufficient to achieve these effects on motivation in science classes.


Interest; Mastery goals; Reflective writing; Self-assessment; Science instruction


Education | Educational Psychology



UNLV article access

Search your library