Disparities in Students’ Perceptions of Demotivating Factors in Learning English across Educational Levels and Fields of Study

Document Type: Original Article


Department of English Language, Falavarjan Branch, Islamic Azad University, Isfahan, Iran


Demotivation is a relatively new topic in the field of second or foreign language acquisition which is in need of more rigorous research. In this regard, the present study was an attempt to investigate university students’ perceptions of seven demotivating factors in learning English as a foreign language across educational levels and fields of study in an Iranian context. To this end, three hundred and eighty two Persian learners of English were selected through stratified clustering sampling procedure to participate in this mixed method study. The data was collected through a 40-item Likert type questionnaire and a follow-up interview. The results of the study revealed that postgraduate students were significantly different from undergraduate students regarding their perception of inadequate facilities, lack of purpose to study English and class characteristics. The comparisons of four groups of field of study including social sciences, basic sciences, engineering, and medicine showed significant differences with respect to inadequate facilities, teaching methods, and reduced self-confidence. The findings had important pedagogical implications for curriculum planning and teaching English in tertiary education since diagnosing differences in perceptions of demotivating factors in learning EFL across educational levels and fields of study could pave the way in the procedure of removing and preventing such detrimental features.