LHERI Impact Research Journal: Motivating Students to Access Support Service in HE

Lynn Pickerell – Teaching Assistant – School of Psychology – College of Social Science – Staff Profile

This series of blogs aims to highlight elements of good practice or research from across the University. Below is an abstract of the main document, the full version of which can be found here.

Title: Motivating Students To Access Support Services In Higher Education: A Self-Determination Theory Perspective.


Helping students with their academic and personal problems is a priority for higher education institutions. However, students may not seek support for the challenges they face. Self-determination theory frames this resistance to access services in terms of motivation. Students who are experiencing problems are not motivated to address them because they feel incapable, incompetent and isolated. In response to this, self-determination theory would advocate a support service that offers choice, skill-based problem solving and a collaborative approach. This forms the basis of a proposed comparative study to explore whether these aspects of motivation correlate with engagement in student support services at the University of Lincoln. Qualitative and quantitative data will be gathered from undergraduate students, in various disciplines, to explore the barriers to support engagement. The study is planned to run from September 2018 to June 2019

About the author

Lynn Pickerell works at the University of Lincoln as a Graduate Teaching Assistant, while studying for a PhD on the self-regulation of primary school children.This research is an extension of her MSc thesis, to assess the effects of a four-week mindfulness meditation intervention with 9 and 10 year old school children. For this work, Lynn received a distinction and the School of Psychology prize for Masters in Developmental Psychology. Prior to this Lynn completed a BSc in Psychology with the Open University. She began her degree whilst working at the National Probation Service, as she recognised a necessity to improve the support for vulnerable young people and regarded psychology as a pathway to gain a better understanding of their needs. To expand on this Lynn moved into working with victims of crime, where she had direct responsibility for support services. Since beginning her MSc, Lynn has chosen to focus on her academic career with a long-term view to integrating both her academic and vocational skills, in order to provide relevant and successful support to children and young people.