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THE INFLUENCE OF INFORMAL FACULTY-STUDENT RELATIONSHIP ON STUDENTS' MOTIVATION

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The Influence of Informal Faculty-Student Relationship on Students' Motivation

Samat Smakov

Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science

in

Educational Leadership

Nazarbayev University Graduate School of Education

April 2022

Word Count: 15127

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Author Agreement

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Declaration of Authorship

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Ethics Approval

53 Kabanbay Batyr Ave.

010000 Astana, Republic of Kazakhstan 14th October 2021 Dear Samat Smakov,

This letter now confirms that your research project entitled Impact of Informal Faculty- Student Relationship on Students' Motivation has been approved by the Graduate School of Education Ethics Committee of Nazarbayev University.

You may proceed with contacting your preferred research site and commencing your participant recruitment strategy.

Yours sincerely

Munyaradzi Hwami (Supervisor)

On behalf of GSE Ethics Committee Graduate School of Education Nazarbayev University

Block C3, Room 5006 Office: +7 (7172) 70 9371 Mobile: +7 777 1929961

email: zumrad.kataeva@nu.edu.kz

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CITI Training Certificate

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Acknowledgements

I want to express my heartfelt appreciation to everyone who supported me during my research work. Significantly I am deeply grateful to my supervisor, Munya Hwami, who helped me in various ways, and gave me valuable suggestions and feedback throughout my thesis work.

I am thankful to my classmates, who helped in multiple ways, such as sharing their experiences and helping me understand the topic better. I would like to thank all my family and friends, without their support and encouragement, this study would have been challenging to complete.

As a last note, I'd want to express my appreciation to the whole NUGSE team for their knowledge and experience, which they have kindly shared with me throughout this journey.

Furthermore, I am very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with such wonderful people.

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Abstract

Informal relationships between faculty members and students are a necessary element of the educational process in higher education. Furthermore, student motivation plays a significant role in a student's success. Although several studies have explored the effect of informal

relationships between students and faculty on student motivation, very few studies have been conducted on this topic in Kazakhstan. Thus, this study intends to reduce this gap. This study aims to explore the effects of informal student-faculty relationships on students' motivation at one Kazakhstani university's pedagogical institute. These are the questions the study is intended to answer: RQ1: How do students characterize their relationship with faculty members? RQ2:

How do students' gender and age affect student-faculty relationships and students' motivation?

RQ3: Can student social interactions predict students' motivation? In order to answer these research questions, quantitative non-experimental research designs were used. One hundred sixty-one undergraduates over 18 of one Kazakhstani university's pedagogical institute were surveyed online. This research reveals that students are optimistic about their informal relationships with faculty members.

Moreover, the study found that age and gender modestly affect student-faculty relationships and students' motivation. Furthermore, the results of this study show that the informal relationship of the faculty with students significantly affects students' motivation. This study definitively answers the question regarding the effects of informal student-faculty

relationships on students' motivation. The benefit of this research to faculty administrators and policymakers is to improve the relationship between faculty and students outside the classroom at Kazakhstani universities.

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Аңдатпа

Оқытушылар мен студенттер арасындағы бейресми қатынастар жоғары оқу

орындарындағы білім беру процесінің қажетті элементі болып табылады. Сонымен қатар, студенттердің мотивациясы оқушының жетістігінде маңызды рөл атқаратыны белгілі.

Бірқатар зерттеулер студенттер мен оқытушылар арасындағы бейресми қарым- қатынастардың студенттердің мотивациясына әсерін зерттегенімен, Қазақстанда бұл тақырыпта өте аз зерттеулер жүргізілді. Осылайша, бұл зерттеу бұл олқылықты азайтуға арналған. Бұл зерттеудің мақсаты-Қазақстан университетінің педагогикалық

институттарының бірінде студенттер мен оқытушылар арасындағы бейресми қарым- қатынастың студенттердің мотивациясына әсерін зерттеу болып табылады. Бұл зерттеуге сұрақтары мынадай: RQ1: студенттер оқытушылармен қарым-қатынасын қалай

сипаттайды? RQ2: студенттердің жынысы мен жасы студенттер мен оқытушылар

арасындағы қарым-қатынасқа және студенттердің мотивациясына қалай әсер етеді? RQ3:

студенттердің әлеуметтік қарым-қатынасы студенттердің мотивациясын болжай ала ма?

Осы сұрақтарға жауап беру үшін сандық эксперименттік емес зерттеу әдістері

қолданылды. Қазақстан университетінің педагогикалық институттарының бірінен 18 жастан асқан жүз алпыс бір студент онлайн-сауалнамадан өтті. Зерттеу көрсеткендей, студенттер оқытушылармен бейресми қарым-қатынастарын оптимистік бағалайды.

Сонымен қатар, зерттеу көрсеткендей, жас пен жыныс студенттердің

оқытушылармен қарым-қатынасына және студенттердің мотивациясына аздап әсер етеді.

Сонымен қатар, зерттеу нәтижелері мұғалімдердің студенттермен бейресми қарым- қатынасы студенттердің мотивациясына айтарлықтай әсер ететіндігін көрсетеді. Бұл зерттеу студенттер мен оқытушылар арасындағы бейресми қатынастардың студенттердің

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мотивациясына әсері туралы сұраққа жауап береді. Бұл зерттеудің университет әкімшілері мен саясаткерлер үшін пайдасы қазақстандық университеттердегі аудиториядан тыс оқытушылар мен студенттер арасындағы қарым-қатынасты жақсарту болып табылады.

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Абстракт

Неформальные отношения между преподавателями и студентами являются необходимым элементом образовательного процесса в высших учебных заведениях.

Кроме того, мотивация студентов играет важную роль в успехе студента. Хотя в ряде исследований изучалось влияние неформальных отношений между студентами и преподавателями на мотивацию студентов, в Казахстане было проведено очень мало исследований на эту тему. Таким образом, данное исследование призвано сократить этот пробел. Цель данного исследования - изучить влияние неформальных отношений между студентами и преподавателями на мотивацию студентов в одном из педагогических институтов Казахстанского университета. Вот вопросы, на которые призвано дать ответы данное исследование: RQ1: Как студенты характеризуют свои отношения с

преподавателями? RQ2: Как пол и возраст студентов влияют на отношения между студентами и преподавателями и мотивацию студентов? RQ3: Могут ли социальные взаимодействия студентов предсказать мотивацию студентов? Для того чтобы ответить на эти вопросы, были использованы количественные неэкспериментальные методы

исследования. Сто шестьдесят один студент старше 18 лет одного из педагогических институтов Казахстанского университета прошли онлайн-опрос. Исследование показало, что студенты оптимистично оценивают свои неформальные отношения с

преподавателями.

Более того, исследование показало, что возраст и пол умеренно влияют на

отношения студентов с преподавателями и мотивацию студентов. Более того, результаты исследования показывают, что неформальные отношения преподавателей со студентами значительно влияют на мотивацию студентов. Данное исследование окончательно

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отвечает на вопрос о влиянии неформальных отношений между студентами и преподавателями на мотивацию студентов. Полезность данного исследования для администраторов факультетов и политиков заключается в улучшении отношений между преподавателями и студентами вне аудитории в казахстанских университетах.

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Table of Contents

Author Agreement ... i

Declaration of Authorship... ii

Ethics Approval ... iii

CITI Training Certificate ... iv

Acknowledgements ... v

Abstract ... vi

Аңдатпа ... vii

Абстракт ... ix

Table of Contents ... xi

List of Tables ... xv

Chapter 1: Introduction to the Study ... 1

Introduction ... 1

Research Background ... 1

Statement of Problem ... 5

Research Purpose and Questions ... 6

Significance of the Study ... 6

Thesis Outline ... 7

Summary ... 8

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Chapter 2: Literature Review ... 9

Introduction ... 9

Informal Faculty-Student Relationships ... 10

Informal Faculty-Student Relationships and Student Motivation ... 12

International Studies on Informal Faculty-Student Relationships ... 14

Informal Faculty-Student Relationships in Kazakhstan ... 16

Age and Informal Faculty-Student Relationships ... 17

Gender and Informal Faculty-Student Relationships ... 18

Conceptual Framework ... 19

Summary ... 20

Chapter 3: Methodology ... 22

Introduction ... 22

Research Design... 22

Research Method ... 23

Research Site ... 24

Population and Sample ... 25

Data Collection Tools ... 26

Data Collection Procedures... 28

Data Analysis ... 29

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Ethical Considerations ... 30

Summary ... 31

Chapter 4: Findings ... 32

Introduction ... 32

Demographic Characteristics of the Sample ... 33

Descriptive Analysis Of Informal Faculty-Student Relationships ... 34

Gender And Informal Faculty-Student Relationships... 37

Age And Informal Faculty-Student Relationships ... 38

Inferential Analysis of Informal Faculty-Student Relationships ... 40

Effect of Gender on Informal Faculty-Student Relationships ... 40

Effect of Age on Informal Faculty-Student Relationships ... 41

Descriptive Analysis of Students' Motivation ... 42

Gender and Student Motivation ... 45

Age and Student Motivation ... 46

The Relationship Between Informal Faculty-Student Relationships and Student Motivation ... 48

Summary ... 50

Chapter 5: Discussion of Findings ... 52

Introduction ... 52

Informal Faculty-Student Relationships ... 52

Students' Motivation ... 54

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The Relationship Between Students' Motivation and Informal Faculty-Student Relationships ... 55

Summary ... 56

Chapter 6: Conclusion... 57

Introduction ... 57

Summary of Major Findings ... 57

Implications of the Study ... 58

Limitations of the Study... 59

Recommendation for Further Research ... 60

Final Personal Reflections ... 60

References ... 62

Appendix A: Informed Consent Form ... 73

Appendix B: Ақпараттандырылған Келісім Жайлы ... 76

Appendix C: Форма Информированного Согласия ... 79

Appendix D: Questionnaire ... 82

Appendix E: Анкета ... 84

Appendix F: Сауалнама ... 87

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List of Tables

Table 2: Descriptive Analysis Of Informal Informal Faculty-Student Relationships ... 34

Table 4: Descriptive Statistics For Informal Faculty-Student Relationships By Gender ... 38

Table 5: Descriptive Statistics For Informal Faculty-Student Relationships By Age ... 39

Table 6: Inferential Statistics of Gender And Informal Faculty-Student Relationships ... 41

Table 7: Inferential Statistics Of Age And Informal Faculty-Student Relationships ... 42

Table 8: Descriptive Analysis Of Students' Motivation ... 43

Table 9: Descriptive Analysis of Students' Motivation ... 43

Table 10: Descriptive Statistics for Informal Faculty-Student Relationships by Gender ... 45

Table 11: Descriptive Statistics for Informal Faculty-Student Relationships by Age ... 46

Table 12: Intercorrelation Matrix Among Informal Faculty-Student Relationships and Student Motivation Related Variables (Kendall’s tau-b) ... 48

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Chapter 1: Introduction to the Study

Introduction

This chapter introduces the thesis subject and study area, which is intended to investigate the link between informal student-faculty relationships and students' motivation in a university in Kazakhstan. The first part presents information on the research topic that this work attempts to solve. The statement of the research purpose will be addressed. Following that, the research questions that drive this study will be presented. The significance of the study will be discussed towards the end of the chapter.

Research Background

Numerous academics have highlighted the importance of student-faculty connections and exchanges, and for a good reason (Asikainen et al., 2018; Ingraham et al., 2018; Woodside et al., 1999). There is a substantial amount of literature on the student-faculty relationship that has been published. The works published in educational journals about student-faculty relationships focus on the impact of this interaction and how it affects students' academic outcomes. In one of Snow's (1973) research, which was early and one of the most significant studies on the topic, the organization emphasized the critical importance of teacher-student relationships. In the case of a teacher who develops an emotional attachment to his or her students, the researcher argues that the teacher will approach each student with flexibility and responsiveness and will actively engage in establishing a successful relationship.

Additionally, it is essential to note that regular contact with students may aid teachers in better understanding their students' emotions (Snow, 1973). However, despite the importance of student-faculty interaction, some faculty members do not have a strong relationship with a

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student, and these faculty members limit their interaction with students (Kuh & Hu, 2001).

Therefore, faculty members must maintain a high level of contact with students and develop strong bonds. Furthermore, the study results made by Dobransky & Frymier (2004) supported the hypothesis that authority, trust, and closeness are indicators of the interpersonal nature of teacher-student relationships.

Previous researchers have shown that the student-faculty connection positively impacts students' motivation (Jaasma & Koper, 1999; Trolian et al., 2016). Additionally, regular communication between students and faculty members and quality and maintenance have a beneficial effect on students' motivation (Jaasma & Koper, 1999). More precisely, informal contact between students and faculty members directly influences students' motivation (Jaasma

& Koper, 1999). On the other hand, Trolian et al. (2016) maintain that discussing classwork outside of class may negatively affect student motivation.

The Psychology Dictionary defines motivation as the influential power that provides meaning or guidance to people and animals' behaviors that occur consciously and

subconsciously; those behaviors may not exist because of those actions. In other words, motivation is when a person is ready and eager to expend effort to finish a goal or obtain a specific purpose (M.S, 2013). The scholars Tohidi & Jabbari (2012) define motivation as the reason and method through which an organization coerces individuals into doing particular actions. Besides that, in the andragogy study of understanding and practice and the lifelong education of adults, it has been noticed that motivation is an essential component (Tohidi &

Jabbari, 2012). To that end, the following ideas constitute the framework of the research:

informal teacher-student relationships and student motivation.

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The interaction between faculty and students is essential in learning. Faculty members can interact with students formally in classrooms and in an informal outdoor way. The

interaction between faculty members and students can have significant outcomes. For example, this relationship can impact students' academic achievements (Capern & Hammond, 2014;

Ingraham et al., 2018). Furthermore, non-formal interaction between students and faculty, such as caring, can also impact students' academic outcomes (Ingraham et al., 2018). According to some scholars, to build a strong college culture, it is necessary to have an informal relationship between students and faculty members. This interaction can expand college students' interests, attitudes and morals (Pascarella & Terenzini, 2005). However, it is crucial to know the source of the student's motivation and informal communication between faculty and students. Printrich's (2003) research mentions two main types of student motivation: the first is intrinsic, and the second is extrinsic. Accordingly, intrinsic motivation is the urge to accomplish something to find joy and satisfaction or excellence in doing something well. However, extrinsic motivation is not about personal satisfaction; it is to find positive outcomes that this activity may have (Pintrich, 2003). Despite the motivation or perception of faculty members on students' motivation, it is essential to motivate students.

Additionally, it is crucial to motivate students during their college years because,

according to (Usher & Kober, 2012), having low motivation is a serious issue that affects many students nowadays. Moreover, there is much evidence that when at least one faculty member has close informal interaction and relationships with students, students will become more loyal to their college and be more satisfied with their college experience (Rosenthal et al., 2000).

Therefore, motivation can affect every aspect of student life, and the lack of this motivation can cause significant consequences on students' academic and personal development (Usher &

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Kober, 2012). Furthermore, even if a large amount of interaction between faculty in students is informally happening in the classroom (Woodside et al., 1999), informal interaction could motivate students to achieve academic outcomes and become a more active learning process on an ongoing basis.

Recently, the government of Kazakhstan has been paying considerable attention to improving the education system, which is reflected in the strategic plans of the Ministry of Education. Ministry of Education's development plan of education and science (2019) claims that Kazakhstani universities will have more autonomy. Furthermore, the government of Kazakhstan has shown a willingness to spend on the educational sector (Hartley et al., 2016). According to the government plan, 7% of GDP will be expended on education (Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan, 2019).

After the USSR collapsed, Kazakhstan became an independent country, but the soviet higher educational system was central, and higher educational institutions had a small amount of autonomy. Furthermore, there were no alternative models of higher education or private

institutions existing at the time (M. S. Johnson, 2008). After the independence of Kazakhstan, some types of positive changes happened; several private universities opened, one of them being Astana International University. The pedagogical Institution of AIU is one of the newest

institutions in the Nur-Sultan city. In the words of Eshanov T., the director of the Pedagogical Institute, their teaching staff is professional and one of the most ambitious educators in the field.

In my conversation with the institute director, he stated that their curriculum is one of the most advanced in higher Education in Kazakhstan. However, not just an up-to-date curriculum but also a positive environment and motivation also play a significant role in the students' academic outcomes (Taurina, 2015). Regardless of teachers' professionalism, to motivate students, it is

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also necessary to have a formal and informal connection with the student outside of class time (Jaasma & Koper, 1999).

Statement of Problem

While teachers communicate with students during the classroom, teachers should also remember to communicate with students outside the classroom. According to Halawah (2006), it is crucial that teachers communicate with students during academic hours and outside the

classroom. Otherwise, a lack of positive communication between faculty members and students can have a negative impact on students; In the context of Kazakhstani education, the relationship between students and faculty is not always a positive one. According to the (Burkhalter &

Shegebayev, 2012) study, educational institutions in Kazakhstan do not have a favorable atmosphere and a sense of hostility. Even international research conducted by Asikainen et al.

(2018) says that students' attitudes towards teachers and teachers' attitudes towards students are highly damaging. According to students from this study, sometimes teachers are hostile to them.

However, students desire a secure and supportive learning environment (Anderson & Carta- Falsa, 2002). Thus, it is vital to have a positive interaction, which will lead to students'

motivation (Woodside et al., 1999). Additionally, students who are more motivated to study are also thought to have better educational success, stronger conceptual ability, higher fulfilment with school, more self-confidence, and greater social integration (Ryan & Deci, 2009). In addition, faculty and administrative personnel in higher education institutions must consider the motivations of their students in the organization of study processes (Taurina, 2015), and informal interaction should be a component of the study process.

Examining the link between student motivation and informal relationships between students and faculty members is essential in this setting for various reasons. In some universities

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in Kazakhstan, the relationship between teachers and students is not favourable; even in some cases, students are violent towards faculty members (tengrinews.kz, 2014, 2017). Occasionally there were cases where teachers used violence against students. For instance, there is a case where a faculty member used violence against a student for not following the dress code (Sputnik Kazakhstan, 2018).

It is essential to understand the effect of social interactions on student motivation based on events that occurred at Kazakhstan's institutions. Additionally, a limited number of studies examining the impact of faculty-student relationships on students' motivation have been performed in higher education, all of which took place outside of Kazakhstan. Additionally, a lack of informal contact between students and faculty can have several essential outcomes; as a result, it is critical to understand the underlying conditions of such interactions, especially in the context of Kazakhstani institutions.

Research Purpose and Questions

This study aims to explore the effects of informal student-faculty relationships on

students' motivation at one Kazakhstani university. These are the questions the study is intended to answer:

1) How do students characterize their relationship with faculty members?

2) How do students' gender and age affect student-faculty relationships and students' motivation?

3) Can student social interactions predict students' motivation?

Significance of the Study

As the issue of faculty-student informal relationship was not addressed in the last state program for education and science development, this article will assist in developing a more

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nuanced understanding of the problem, and officials such as the Ministry of Education may pay attention to it. They may add programs to the State Program in the future that will strengthen the teacher-student informal interaction. Faculty members of the University will better know their students' needs due to this work, which will enhance communication and enable them to assist students outside the classroom. University administration will get a better understanding of the wants of students and be able to take measures to enhance their policies and increase the

University environment due to this effort. Additionally, students involved in this study will have an opportunity to reflect on their informal interactions with faculty members. Other Kazakhstani university governments may improve understanding of the effect of informal interaction between students and faculty on students' motivation due to the research findings and make changes to the university's internal rules to improve and expand informal communication between students and professors.

Additionally, the study's findings may contribute to the development of literature on students' motivation influenced by the faculty-student relationship. Additionally, the study's findings may contribute to the development of literature on students' motivation influenced by the faculty-student relationship. Moreover, this study will contribute to understanding the nature of student motivation and contribute to the theory of motivation. It will also expand the

understanding of student and faculty relationships at universities. Furthermore, this study will contribute to the literature and include Kazakhstan in this area of research.

Thesis Outline

This thesis will consist of six chapters and a list of references. Chapter 1 is an

introduction, and in this chapter, the study's aim and research question are defined. Additionally, it includes the study's relevance and rationale. Chapter 2 is dedicated to a Literature Review, in

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which I will examine material collected from the literature that relates to my study subject.

Chapter 3 details the study's methodology. The next chapter discusses the data analysis and findings in chapter 4. In Chapter 5: Discussion, I will evaluate these results. Finally, Chapter 6 will provide the study's findings and suggestions.

Summary

The chapter defined the principal terms used in the research. The main questions that the respondents had to answer were also presented in the Chapter on the purpose of the study. The significance of the research and the importance of the study relating to higher education in Kazakhstan were described. The necessity to investigate informal relationships with faculty members and students and the effect on students' motivations was also discussed. The next chapter considers the literature related to this research study.

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Chapter 2: Literature Review

Introduction

This chapter reviews and discusses necessary studies that address critical concepts, arguments, and ideas relevant to the study. This research aims to investigate the effect of informal faculty-student relationships on students' motivation. Three research questions are addressed in this research study. The first question aims to elicit information on how students describe their interactions with faculty members. The second question examines how gender and age influence students' interactions with faculty members and motivation. The third question seeks to ascertain if students' social ties influence their motivation.

The literature review presented below showed that informal faculty-student interaction is an essential part of student development and is related to students' motivation and achievement.

However, the review of available research identified that the topic of student-faculty out-of-class interactions is primarily overlooked in student development literature. It is mainly viewed as one of the aspects of students' integration into college, with very few studies focusing on out-of-class faculty-student interaction. After review, it was also identified that few studies discuss the relationship between informal faculty-student interaction and students' motivation. Having reviewed the available studies on faculty-student interaction, I also noticed that age and gender differences in a student-faculty relationship had not gotten considerable attention in western research. There is also a lack of research on this topic in post-Soviet countries and Kazakhstan.

The first section of this chapter is devoted to defining informal student-faculty relationships and their dimensions. The second section reviews the available research on the effect of informal interactions between students and faculty members on student motivation. The next section of the chapter delves into previous research on student-faculty informal connections.

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The fourth section examines the local research on this subject. The following two sections are devoted to the age and gender differences in informal student-faculty relationships. The last section presents the conceptual framework of the study.

Informal Faculty-Student Relationships

Since this study aims to determine the informal relationship between students and

teachers and its impact on student motivation, there is a need to understand what is referred to as the informal faculty-student relationship. The informal relationship between students and faculty can be defined as a student-faculty relationship outside the formal classroom (Nadler & Nadler, 2001). Additionally, informal discussions might include student-faculty conversations on non- class-related topics, such as better preparing for a test or understanding a course better (Nadler &

Nadler, 2001). Most of the communication between students and faculty occurs in class, and they mainly discuss formal lessons. However, if communication between students and professors occurs outside of class, it can be considered an informal relationship. The informal relationship between students and professors can be added to different activities unrelated to studies.

The relationship between students and teachers can be categorized as interaction at the sociological level from external roles (Dobransky & Frymier, 2004). According to Miller and Steinberg (1975), when a teacher and student interact informally and view each other as individuals, this relationship will be personal on a psychological level. Moreover, the research made by Dobransky and Frymier (2004) shows that students who interact with their teachers outside the classroom feel that they have an interpersonal relationship with their teachers, rather than communication between students and instructors only formally in the classroom.

Accordingly, those students who build informal relationships with teachers treat their

relationship with the teacher differently than those who do not develop informal relationships

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with their teachers. However, simple greetings between students and faculty are not a non-formal relationship. The length of the conversation, subject, and context are essential to building

informal communication (Nadler & Nadler, 2001). Thus, to build informal relationships, teachers and students should not perceive each other on a sociological or cultural level where everyone has roles as students and teachers but should perceive each other as individuals (Miller &

Steinberg, 1975). This helps to build informal relationships.

According to Millar and Rogers (1976), research points out three dimensions in building relationships between students and faculty: control, the level of intimacy, and the amount of trust. The first dimension is communication between students and faculty control. Control refers to who has the authority to command, delimit and define the actions (Millar & Rogers, 1976).

The measurement of control prevents the faculty members from building equally valuable relationships and using the authority of one person over another. However, in most of its cases, the communication between students and professors uses an element of control (Millar &

Rogers, 1976).

The next dimension of communication between students and faculty is trust. According to Millar and Rogers (1976), a trusting relationship between a faculty member and student can be considered one that shows faith in each other, dependence on each other, when students and teachers can rely on each other, and when they can rely on each other. Thus, trust is one of the most critical aspects of building an informal relationship. Similarly, according to Wooten and McCroskey's research (1996), trust is built when teachers and students can communicate

effectively. Trust is an essential element in student learning (Frymier & Thompson, 1992; Nadler

& Nadler, 2001).

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According to Millar and Rogers (1976), intimacy is the third dimension of interpersonal communication between students and professors. In some cases, intimacy is presented as a

romantic relationship between partners; because of this, some researchers believe that intimacy is not an exemplary aspect of the connection between a student and a faculty (McCroskey, 1992).

However, according to Millar and Rogers (1976), intimacy is the level where students and faculty exploit each other for self-confirmation; intimacy is an effective method of assessing self-confirmation. Thus, according to Millar and Rogers (1976), control, trust, and intimacy are the main measurements of the interpersonal relationship resulting from the informal relationship between the students and the faculty members.

Communication between students and professors can be for a variety of reasons. One of the main subjects of communication that help build relationships is academic topics. According to Iverson et al. (1984), informal communication on academic issues between students and professors has a significant positive impact on students, and the frequency of these meetings is also crucial. However, according to Jaasma and Koper (1999), during informal communication between students and faculty members, the discussion of classwork has a negative impact on student motivation. Because of this, informal relationships should be based on interpersonal communication, not on the discussion of classwork, which negatively affects the student's motivation.

Informal Faculty-Student Relationships and Student Motivation

Research on student-faculty relationships highlights the connection between the effect of this relationship on student motivation (Jaasma & Koper, 1999; Rugutt & Chemosit, 2009).

Research suggests that out-of-classroom relationships are an essential aspect of student

development. Furthermore, informal relationships between students and faculty members affect

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students' motivation (Jaasma & Koper, 1999; Trolian et al., 2016). In addition, informal student- faculty relationships raise students' academic motivation, particularly first-year students. Some researchers have proven that extracurricular informal relationships can affect students' personal development and intellectual development (Pascarella & Terenzini, 1978). An earlier Pascarella and Terenzini study (1978) found that informal out-of-class relationships between students and faculty members strongly influence students' academic motivation and can be complementary to enhancing students' academic performance. According to Dobransky and Frymier (2004), informal relationships between students and faculty members lead to interpersonal relationships, and one of the significant factors in building interpersonal relationships between students and faculty members is intimacy. Thus, interpersonal relationships and intimacy between students and faculty members lead to motivated students, and increasing this bond has a significant positive impact on the outcome (Dobransky & Frymier, 2004). Building informal relationships between students and faculty members also affect students' engagement (Rugutt & Chemosit, 2009). However, the methods of communication and the topics that students and faculty members discuss are also reflected in student motivation. For example, if students and faculty members discuss classwork or lessons, it negatively affects student motivation (Jaasma & Koper, 1999).

Research proves that challenging the professor's ideas during classwork, getting honest feedback from the professor, and getting support from teachers is an essential factor in students' motivation (Sax, 2008). While faculty members develop ties with students during courses to inspire them, we should not overlook the advantages of informal interactions with students.

Earlier and recent research on the influence of informal interactions between students and faculty members demonstrates that this kind of interaction assists in student learning and significantly

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indicates student motivation. (Hamre & Pianta, 2001; Pascarella & Terenzini, 1978; Rugutt &

Chemosit, 2009; Wilson, 1975). According to Rugutt and Chemosit's (2009) study, student and faculty members' relationships affect academic motivation and are also one of the main factors and predictors of student motivation. Furthermore, Wilson's (1975) research argues that students' informal relationship with faculty motivates students and is also a significant driver of the

emotional and cognitive development of students.

International Studies on Informal Faculty-Student Relationships

Many factors influence students' behaviour, performance, and desire to learn. However, research suggests that motivation is one of the main factors that affect the behaviour and performance of humans (Kian et al., 2014; Turan, 2015). According to Waterman (2005), motivation is the force that initiates movement and is an internal driver. For the student to achieve success in his studies and continue with his achievements, the student should be

motivated, and motivation is one of the essential concepts that affect the outcome of the students (Alkış, 2015; Pintrich & Schunk, 2002). Thus, motivation plays an absolute position in students' ongoing success at university (Tohidi & Jabbari, 2012). These statements are also confirmed by achievement (Orhan Özen, 2017); in his work, he proved the positive impact of students' motivation on their academic success.

Faculty members' out-of-class work with students is an informal type of interaction.

Jaasma and Koper (1999) argue that outside classroom assignments and student motivation are linked. Furthermore, Fusani (1994) states in his study that the informal relationship between students and faculty members is essential in improving students' motivation. Students who participate in out-of-class activities and have an informal relationship with the faculty perform better educational and cognitive growth (Terenzini et al., 1996). Informal relationships between

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students and faculty members affect students' motivation, improve self-confidence, and enhance their self-esteem (Kuh, 1995). Faculty members should build informal relationships with

students to increase students' trust and motivation. Because according to Jaasma and Koper (1999), building informal relationships positively affects the students' sense of trust and motivation. However, we need to consider some variables that positively impact students' motivation. Trolian et al. (2016) examined the data from WMS, which surveyed undergraduate students at 17 different higher education institutions in 11 American states. They found that the quality of communication and the frequency of student contact with faculty positively impact student motivation.

According to some studies, students' informal contact with faculty members positively impacts student motivation(Jaasma & Koper, 1999; Rugutt & Chemosit, 2009). However, studies investigating the frequency of informal contact between students and faculty members claim that faculty and students do not contact each other as much as they should (Cotten & Wilson, 2006;

Snow, 1973). Similarly, most students do not see the benefit of being in contact with faculty members in an informal setting (Cotten & Wilson, 2006). Furthermore, in an earlier study conducted by Snow (1973), 31% of the 198 students claimed no significant contact with their faculty members. In their research, Cotten and Wilson (2006) found that students in a focus group said they had relatively few ties with professors. The study conducted at the University of California at Davis in the USA found out that those professors who build informal relationships with their students and have more frequent contact with them possess disparate perspectives than those professors who do not have as many connections with their students (Snow, 1973).

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Informal Faculty-Student Relationships in Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan received its independence 30 years ago, and before that, Kazakhstan was part of the Soviet Union. Kazakhstani higher education was formed in the Soviet Union, and most of those norms have not changed (Hartley et al., 2016). Of course, we should not forget that the system of Soviet education was not ideal. For example, the bureaucracy in higher education institutions (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, 2007) echoes Soviet education.

In the State Program of Development of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan for 2020-2025, one of the initiatives implemented in the education system is value- based education, which uses the construction of trust and informal relationships between students and teachers to motivate students (Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan, 2019). However, this program will be implemented only in the schools and not in higher education.

Recent research conducted in Kazakhstan on student-teacher relations highlights the importance of informal ties between instructor and student (Serbaeva, 2020). Furthermore, an earlier study conducted by Zhamldinov (2011) states that some students are pretty naturally passionate about learning, while others need or expect some support and motivation from their teachers. Recent reports also suggest that students often feel unmotivated during online

education (Habirova, 2020). In contrast, a study by Hairullina and Hizbullina (2018) states that Kazakhstani students possess a high level of motivation. Still, the authors do not determine the informal relationship between the students and faculty members as the factor that motivates and drive motivation in students.

To summarize, very few studies have been conducted in Kazakhstan on informal student- faculty relationships. Existing research that examines student motivation does not consider the

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informal relationship between students and faculty members as a factor that affects student motivation (Ayylchiev & Mukanova, 2010; Hairullina & Hizbullina, 2018; Zhamldinov, 2011).

For example, the study of Ayylchiev and Mukanova (2010) does not consider informal relations between students and faculty as a factor that affects student motivation. Furthermore,

Zhamldinov's (2011) study on the topic of unmotivated students does not consider the lack of informal student-faculty relationships to cause the student is not motivated. However, the study highlights the importance of an open and friendly atmosphere and encouragement for enhancing students' motivation.

Age and Informal Faculty-Student Relationships

The informal relationship between the students and the faculty members is an essential part of the student's development (Pascarella & Terenzini, 1978). However, not all students are interested in this type of relationship. There is evidence that younger students are more interested and consider it more important to build relationships with their faculty members than students in their senior year (Hamre & Pianta, 2001; Roorda et al., 2017). According to Košir & Temen's (2014) research, the students who built informal relationships at the beginning of school and at a young age received more attention and support from their teachers. In addition, students who received more support from teachers showed good results at the end of the school.

Pascarella and Terenzini's (1978) research on informal student-faculty relations states that first-year students need more interaction with their professors than senior students. Furthermore, Nora et al. (1996) claim that female students need and value informal relationships with faculty members at the beginning of their studies at college. Thus, at the beginning of their studies, some students need more informal communication with faculty members because they decide to continue their education (Astin, 1997). According to Fusani (1994), younger students are more

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likely to build informal relationships with faculty members. Moreover, Lynch and Cicchetti (1992) also claim that children's informal relationships with teachers vary with their age. This is confirmed by Kazakhstani research, which suggests that it is easier to build a relationship with young students rather than older students (Zhamldinov, 2011) as different age groups perceive and need informal relationships with faculty members differently.

Gender and Informal Faculty-Student Relationships

Educational institutions treat men and women differently; because of this, different genders have different perceptions of learning. For example, according to Sandier (1991), men and women face different challenges in higher education, and because of this difference, women and men perceive and learn differently. Teachers often treat men and women differently.

Therefore, their perception of the academic environment might also be different (Spilt et al., 2012). Women and men build their formal or informal relationships with others also differs.

For example, students' informal relationships with faculty members are why men feel more self-confident in the sciences (Leder, 1992; Stage & Kloosterman, 1995). The studies suggest that men are more likely to build more informal relationships with their faculty than their female counterparts (Carlson et al., 1997; Hall & Sandler, 1982).

However, research also states that women communicate more and build informal relationships with teachers easier than men and are less confrontational with their teachers than men (Beer & Darkenwald, 1989; Fusani, 1994; Hamre & Pianta, 2001; Kesner, 2000). Research also suggests that these high-quality personal connections and informal relationships with faculty members are factors that affect college outcomes for women (Nora et al., 1996). The research also states that the classroom climate for female gender students is not always favourable; the attitudes toward women outside the classroom are also chilly (Hall & Sander, 1982).

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Girls are also more likely than men to drop out of science in college (Thompson, 2001). It also seems that men and women perceive and demand informal relationships with faculty

differently. Of course, these informal relationships affect their learning and motivation (Hall &

Sandler, 1982). Therefore, it is crucial to study gender differences in student-faculty informal relationships.

Conceptual Framework

Research suggests that women and men have different outcomes in higher education. In addition, women are more self-confident in academic fields than men (Santiago & Einarson, 1998; Stage & Kloosterman, 1995). Furthermore, women are more willing and favourable to an informal relationship with faculty members than men (Beer & Darkenwald, 1989).

One of the purposes of this study is to investigate how gender and age influence student- faculty interaction and students' motivation. Research suggests that some teachers support and perceive students differently depending on their age (Košir and Tement, 2014) and gender (Sandier, 1991). Because of this, this study will include such a variable as age and gender to determine the extent to which these characteristics influence their informal connections with teachers.

For this research, a path analytic model was used as a conceptual framework for the study. The path model also includes four control variables—age, and gender, which evaluate the difference between men and women and how this variable affects the other two constructs.

Figure 1- illustrates the suggested path analytic approach for estimation. The arrows represent the lines of effect that have been established via a review of previous research and as envisioned in this study.

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The variables: age and gender, are exogenous, and the other two variables, informal student-faculty relationship and students' motivation, are endogenous. The variable variables age and gender affect the informal attitude of students and faculty members and directly affect student motivation. Implications and model variables were based on Thompson's (2001) theory, where he studied the relationship between informal student-faculty relationships and educational gains in science and mathematics.

Figure 1: Conceptual Framework

Note: The lines indicate associations and not causality Summary

This literature review presented the main concepts and studies related to teacher-student informal relationships and students' motivation. The chapter began by presenting the leading theories and explanations of informal teacher-student relationships. Then, informal relationships between students and faculty members and their impact on student motivation were addressed.

Next, the chapter reviewed international studies on informal relationships between students and faculty members. Then local Kazakhstani research on student motivation and informal

relationships between students and faculty members was discussed. The aspects of gender and

Students' motivation Informal student-

faculty relationship Age

Gender

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age were also considered. Finally, a conceptual framework, the path analytic model, was presented. The next chapter addresses the methodology of this research study.

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Chapter 3: Methodology

Introduction

The previous chapter reviewed the literature pertinent to this study. This chapter focuses on the methodology that was employed for this study. It starts with a detailed discussion of the research design and research method. The research questions and the research site are the next to be examined. The research population and sample and the rationale for their selection are also addressed in this chapter. The following sections discuss the data collecting tools, procedures, and analysis techniques. The ethical dilemmas associated with this study are examined towards the end of the chapter.

Research Design

The study design is one of the most fundamental parts of the research methodology. To choose the right research design, we need to start with the questions we want to answer and the purpose of the study (Cohen et al., 2018). This study examined the connection between variables.

Therefore, a quantitative research approach is more appropriate. According to Cresswell (2012), one of the characteristics of quantitative research design is to find the relationship between the variables by using statistical analysis. This study aims to determine the impact of informal faculty-student relationships on student motivation. Thus, this study examined the variables using a quantitative non-experimental correlation approach. In non-experimental studies, no independent variables are manipulated, and no conditions are altered to influence the

participants' responses (Radhakrishnan, 2013).

Furthermore, Muijs (2004) claims that "in non-experimental research, we have to use the variable as it appears in practice," and since we do not control the environment in this research,

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quantitative non-experimental designs were used. According to Cresswell (2012), a variable is an element or feature of persons studied by researchers.

A survey questionnaire was the primary instrument for collecting numerical data on the connection between variables such as student motivation and faculty students' informal

interaction. There are several reasons for using the quantitative method. The first reason is to examine the relationship between variables. According to Creswell (2009), the quantitative method is more suitable for measuring the relationship between variables than the qualitative method. Since my research is to find the relationship between student motivation and the informal relationship between students and faculty, the quantitative approach is more appropriate. According to Leavy (2017), the online survey is more convenient to guarantee anonymity to all participants, so I used an online questionnaire as a data collection tool.

Research Method

According to Cresswell (2012), a survey is an instrument for measuring quantitative data.

Because the survey is a flexible way of collecting data by using a questionnaire form with incomplete sentences, according to Muijs (2004), a wide variety of research questions can be studied using survey methods. Thus, I used the online questionnaire for this study as it is more appropriate. Because my research measured the relationship between two variables: student motivation and informal relationships between students and faculty, furthermore, the questionnaire is a flexible form of obtaining data, and by using the questionnaire, I could measure more data from a large number of participants.

However, this questionnaire had some disadvantages. For example, occasionally, some people did not understand the full context of the question in the questionnaire. One example from the questionnaire: Informal relationships with faculty members help me express my thoughts

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openly. The subsequent weakness of the questionnaire is that not all participants wanted to participate in the study because of security concerns (Rudestam & Newton, 2014). To solve this problem, participants were sent an email with a detailed description of the study's confidentiality and anonymity procedures.

The questionnaire was designed so that it allowed to measure students' motivation and informal relationships between students and faculty—questions to measure students' motivation are based on Student Motivation Scale (SMS). Moreover, the questionnaire included questions that measure students' informal relationships with faculty members. The study participants were asked to respond to 30 questions. The survey items were rated on a 5-point Likert scale, from a

"strongly disagree" response (1) to a "strongly agree" response (5).

Research Site

The research was carried out at one of the universities in the capital city of Kazakhstan.

According to the head of one department, the university has an up-to-date curriculum and curricular design that helps students achieve academic outcomes. However, the interaction between teacher and student is also essential to improving students' intellectual development (Halawah, 2006). Furthermore, this university is well known for its faculty members who are doing recognisable out of class activities. For example, several of the professors in this

department hold out-of-class tea parties with students. The early studies on informal interaction between faculty members and students mention the significant impact of informal relationships between faculty and students (Endo & Harpel, 1982).

The State Programme for Education and Science Development for 2020-2025 includes training of individuals based on universal human values (Government of the Republic of

Kazakhstan, 2019). However, there is a lack of a significant number of educators in Kazakhstan.

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To solve this and other problems in the capital city of Kazakhstan, this university was recently opened. The university's mission is to be the leading educational institution in Central Asia and provide cutting-edge knowledge and research.

Furthermore, in 2019 a pedagogical institute was established at the university, and this institute became the biggest among all seven faculties of the university. Accordingly, this university sets its goals in line with the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Kazakhstan (Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan, 2019). On the other hand, in a quality study made by (Kaiser et al., 2010), all case study participants mentioned the importance of future teachers' motivation while studying. Moreover, since the Pedagogical Institute, with 1300 students, is the largest institute in the University, and taking into account the importance of motivation of future teachers, this study will take place in the Pedagogical Institute of this university. Thus, the pedagogical institute of this university has an up-to-date curriculum and curricular design that helps students achieve academic outcomes.

Population and Sample

The study population is about 1300 students, and 161 undergraduate students over the age of 18 were chosen as the sample for this study. The population of this study are 1300

undergraduate students of one Kazakhstani university's pedagogical institute. Because the

participants had chosen to participate voluntarily, the volunteer sampling method was chosen for this study. The participants were recruited from the Pedagogical Institute of the university. A random sampling technique was utilised to select the participants for this study. Muijs (2004) asserts that in random sampling, "any member of the population has an equal probability of being included in the sample" (p. 38). As a result, students with diverse characteristics were included in the research. This study investigated the impact of students' gender and age on their

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informal contact with the faculty and students' motivation, and it was essential to recruit students with different background characteristics. As a result, students with diverse characteristics were included in the research. Additionally, this study investigated the impact of students' gender, age, informal contact, and motivation, requiring a diverse sample of participants with various

characteristics. It was also crucial to enrol the participants of both sexes, as students' attitudes and perceptions may differ depending on their gender.

were recruited through email to students at this institution. Since all students have email accounts provided by the university, I reached the students through the university database for emails. Access to students' email addresses database was obtained from the university's gatekeeper.

Data Collection Tools

A questionnaire was utilised to gather data in this research. According to Johnson &

Christensen (2019), a questionnaire is a data collection tool that participants fill out

independently. After reviewing the previous literature, the questionnaire on the Informal faculty- student relationship scale was developed and used withThe Student Motivation Scale (SMS) as a tool for data collection. Thus, the survey questionnaire was conducted on these two scales.

An informal faculty-student relationship scale was used in this study. The informal

relationship between students and faculty was measured based on students' personal opinions and feelings. Informal relationships between faculty and students assess these five dimensions:

Support, student freedom, positive relationship, lack of communication and insubordination.

• Support (e.g., "Faculty members help with my educational needs outside of the classroom"): Support refers to the extent to which students believe faculty members

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support them outside of class; also, support can be expressed academically or in non- academic ways.

• Student freedom (e.g., "Informal relationships with faculty members help me express my thoughts openly"): The Student Freedom dimension measures how free students are to approach their professors, how open the professors are to communication outside of class and how free they are to discuss various topics.

• Positive relationship (e.g., "I have a positive relationship with my faculty"): Positive relationships pertain to students' perceptions of faculty members' willingness to assist them outside of class, as well as professors' involvement in extracurricular activities with students and students' perceptions of professors' positive attitudes toward them.

• Lack of communication (e.g., "Professors do not have time to communicate with me outside of class"): The lack of communication relates to students' perceptions of faculty members paying little attention to them, communicating with them seldom outside of class, and providing little support for students outside of class.

• Insubordination (e.g., "My informal relationship with a professor leads me not to take their class seriously"): The dimension of insubordination quantifies the risk that students' informal contact with faculty members will result in insubordination.

The Student Motivation Scale (SMS) was used to assess students' motivation in this study. It evaluates students' motivation by analysing their booster ideas and feelings. SMS is classified into four dimensions value of schooling, learning focus, persistence and low control.

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• Value of education (e.g., "Learning at university is beneficial to me"): Value of education refers to students' belief that their education at university is beneficial, valuable, and relevant to them.

• Learning focus (e.g., "I am confident when confronted with obstacles"): Learning focus refers to an individual's attention being directed on learning, problem-solving, and developing new skills. A learning focus's objective is to achieve a goal and become the best version of yourself.

• Persistence (e.g., "If I do not understand my coursework at first, I go over it until I do"):

Persistence is the degree to which students attempt to solve or comprehend an issue, even when the subject is challenging or demanding.

• Low control (e.g., "I am often confused about how I can prevent failing at university"):

Students experience low levels of control when they are confused about how best to do all right or how to prevent a negative outcome.

This questionnaire was created in a Google forum tool because it is entirely free, and there is no need for extra resources. To fill the survey, respondents needed about 25-30 minutes.

Data Collection Procedures

The data collection started after getting approval from the GSE Ethics Committee. Before conducting a pilot study, I sent an email with a detailed explanation of the purpose of this study, the risks of the research, and the link to the survey and waited for approval from the research site. When permission was granted, I sent the invitation to participate in the study to five

students. During a pilot study, the research questionnaire was pre-tested. From the insights of the pilot study, I corrected the deficiencies, such as incomprehensible questions.

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After conducting a pilot study, the final email with the link to the Google Form with an invitation to complete the survey was sent to 1300 students. The paragraph with the consent form was included in the survey, and the participants were asked to submit their consent before filling out the form. One hundred sixty-one participants completed the survey, constituting a 12.4%

response rate.

Data Analysis

After completing the data collection period and closing the online questionnaire link, the total number of 161 responses was secured, and the data set was downloaded to a personal computer. Before starting the data analysis, all incomplete responses were removed. The next step was the statistical analysis of the collected data. For this purpose, I used the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS version 26) software.

As Tolmie et al. (2011) assert, SPSS is highly customer-friendly and performs all of the functions we want. In order to understand the general pattern of students' motivation and the quality of their informal relationships with faculty, descriptive statistics were conducted.

According to Johnson & Christensen (2019), statistics that describe, summarise and explain a specific data collection are called descriptive statistics. The following steps were undertaken to understand whether the informal relationship between faculty and students and students' motivation changes regarding gender and age. To establish this relationship, I conducted an inferential analysis by comparing the mean scores of those two distinct groups of individuals using the independent samples t-test. Inferential statistics look outside of direct data to make inferences about the population's attributes based on samples (R. B. Johnson & Christensen, 2019). Then, using correlational analysis, I examined the link between students' age, gender, informal faculty-student interactions, and students' motivation. Finally, multiple linear regression

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was applied to identify the influence of informal faculty-student relationships on students' motivation.

Ethical Considerations

Specific measures were undertaken to assure the anonymity of study participants. The respondents were informed about the purpose of the study and their right to withdraw. Since some statements in the questionnaire could make some participants uncomfortable or leave them with difficult choices to avoid this risk, it would be possible to skip those questionnaire

statements. Therefore, ethical principles were respected, and it was possible "to avoid the harm"

(National Institutes of Health, 1979). All of the above steps were taken on a confidential and anonymous basis. The questionnaire was designed so that it did not collect the names or any personal information except for participants' age and gender. Because the study's participants were students above 18, they could choose to participate or not participate in the survey.

sent the link to the questionnaire to participants via email individually. Thus, each participant completed the questionnaire via their laptop or another personal device. After receiving the data from participants, I downloaded the database with participants' responses to my personal computer and stored it in a separate folder which was encrypted with Nordlocker encryption software. Then I deleted data from Google's servers to ensure that the participant's data was not stored on Google servers.

This study had minimal risk. However, some issues could be considered a risk. First, the entire site of the study could be identified. To prevent this risk, I provided minimal information about this university. The subsequent risk was the possibility that collected data could leak.

Collected data was stored in my laptop, Mac OS, to prevent this risk. Mac OS provides XTS-

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AES 128 encryption, which provides an advanced level of data protection (MacOS - Security, n.d.).

Summary

In this chapter, the research methodology was addressed. The research design was discussed and explained. Further, the research site, the sampling strategy the data collection instrument were described. Besides, the chapter provides information about the data collection and data analysis procedures. The chapter concluded by outlining the ethical aspects of the research.

Сурет

Figure 1: Conceptual Framework
Table 1: Demographic Characteristics Of Participants
Table 1: Descriptive Analysis Of Informal Informal Faculty-Student Relationships
Table 3: Descriptive Analysis Of Informal Faculty-Student Relationships
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