Causal Attribution and its Conceptions by Non-English Major Postgraduates in China: A Case Study

Hui Yan, Xiaohua Li


This article reports a case study, in which causal attribution in SLA and learners’ conceptions of causal attribution were examined. 2 high achievers and 2 low achievers completed a 7-day diary about their daily activities concerning English learning inside and outside English class, and subsequently they were interviewed about their causal attribution and SLA motivation. Data analysis indicated that (a) the two groups were not qualitatively differentiated in causal attributions of learning environment, effort, teacher’s role, and language ability; (b) lower achievers tended to have a more concordant conception of causal attribution than their counterparts; and (c) variations in causal attribution and its conceptions accounted much for the individual differences in motivational behavior.

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Asian Social Science   ISSN 1911-2017 (Print)   ISSN 1911-2025 (Online)    Email: 

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