Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Forde, Connie M.

Other Advisors or Committee Members

Olinzock, Anthony||Adams, James H.||Forde, John E.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Instructional Systems & Workforce Development

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Education


Department of Instructional Systems and Workforce Development


Robotics has gained a great deal of popularity across the United States as a means to engage youth in science, technology, engineering, and math. Understanding what motivates youth and adults to participate in a robotics project is critical to understanding how to engage others. By developing a robotics program built on a proper understanding of the motivational influences, the program can be built on a foundation that addresses these influences. By engaging more youth in the robotics program, they will be able to envision a future for themselves as a high-school or college graduate, in addition to a viable employee with marketable skills in tough economy. The purpose of this research was to evaluate the underlying motivational attributes or factors that influenced 4-H youth, parents, volunteers, and agents to participate in the Mississippi 4-H robotics project. Specifically, this research focuses on two unique counties in Mississippi with very diverse populations. Interviews with participants, observation, and document analysis which took place occurred over the course of a robotics year – October to July. This study sought to identify motivational attributes of participants in the robotics project. Once identified these attributes could be used when developing new program curricula or expanding into new counties in Mississippi. Data analysis revealed that there are many unique motivational factors that influence participants. Among these factors, (1) the desire to build and construct a robot, (2) competition and recognition, (3) desire for future success and security, (4) safe place to participate and build relationships, (5) teamwork, (6) positive role models, and (7) encouragement.