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Procedures for Data Collection and Data Analysis

Data collection was carried out in three steps. As a first step, the researcher called each of the subjects to ask them whether they would like to participate in the qualitative part of the study. With their permission, the researcher fixed the time schedule with the subjects when they could meet each other. Second, the subjects were interviewed individually about their motivational regulation in their English learning. The interviews were conducted in Chinese in order to avoid the situation where their communication was hindered by language proficiency. Each interview lasted about 25 minutes. All the interviews were recorded and transcribed later. Third, at the end of the interview, each subject was required to write two- week diaries according to the diary instructions given by the researcher. The subjects were also contacted by telephone for their feelings or any difficulties in keeping the diary. The diaries were collected once a week.

The data consisted of transcribed interviews and translated diaries. Samples of transcribed interviews and the diaries are given in Appendices 3 and 4. Although the subjects were allowed to use any language they like (that is, Chinese, English, or mixed-code) to keep the diaries, all the diaries handed in by the subjects were written in Chinese. Therefore, the researcher translated the diaries into English for use in the present study. The data analysis of transcribed interviews and translated diaries was not separated. They were analyzed together to describe the differences between high and low English achievers in motivational regulation. The analyses were conducted according to the different types of strategies they used to regulate their motivation. Motivational problems encountered often by high and low achievers were also described in analyzing the data.

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