Research interests and research networks


Currently I am working on motivation research at the University of Iceland.


  • Student motivation
  • Instructional strategies (e.g., Inquiry Learning/Project Based Learning, Flipped Classroom)
  • STEM research – student motivation and interest development
  • Teacher education and field placements
  • Mentoring
  • Self-regulation and cognitive development
  • Identification with academics
  • Teacher motivation
  • Gender, and personality factors (Big 5) in learning


I work with a group of researchers who share the same interest on motivation and identification with academics. Those are:

Dr. Abigail Grover Snook at the University of Iceland

The Centre for Teaching and Learning, University of Iceland

Dr. Brett Jones, Professor at Virginia Tech

Dr. Jessica Chittum, Assistant Professor at East Carolina University

Dr. Sumeyra Sahbaz, Data Analyst, Dept. of Psychology, University of Notre Dame

Centre for Medical Education; School of Medicine, University of Dundee, Scotland



2016-current  See publications

Research experiences before PhD:

Aug. 2010 - Sept. 2015          PhD Dissertation: Validating an Icelandic version of the MUSIC Model of Academic Motivation Inventory (unpublished doctoral dissertation). Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA.

  • I describe the cross-cultural adaptation of the middle and high school version of the MUSIC® Model of Academic Motivation Inventory (Jones, 2012) into Icelandic, in order to provide Icelandic educators with a tool to assess motivation and guide the selection of teaching strategies. The inventory measures students´ perceptions of the five components of the MUSIC® Model of Motivation (Jones, 2009, 2015): eMpowerment, Usefulness, Success, Interest, and Caring. Back-translation of the MUSIC Inventory, followed by expert meetings, was used to gain semantic equivalence. Participants were 458 Icelandic students in fifth to eighth grade. To obtain translation equivalence, I used an exploratory factor analysis that involved principal axis factoring with promax rotation. Subsequently, I implemented a confirmatory factor analysis with a different sample of students to test for model fit. The results replicated the findings obtained with the original version and confirmed the five-factor structure, providing validity evidence for the scores produced by using the Icelandic version.

Aug. 2014 – May 2015           Issues in middle and high schools/mentoring

  • Worked with Dr. Trevor Stewart on research regarding issues such as place-based learning, literacy, standardized testing, teacher retention, school reform initiatives, and issues with a special focus on rural schools.
  • In addition, I have focused on the mentor/mentee relationship and different models for supporting preservice and beginning teachers. This research was in preparation for article literature reviews

Aug. 2013 – May 2014           Teacher retention and attrition/teacher motivation

  • Worked with Dr. Bonnie Billingsley on an analysis of the research literature on teacher retention and attrition with a focus on special education teachers. Results will be reported in an article we are preparing
  • Worked on identifying factors in teacher motivation. I worked with the SASS database (Schools and Staffing Survey), focusing on support and autonomy

Aug. 2012 – May 2014           STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) Research, quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis under the leadership of Dr. Brett Jones, PI

  • Conducted Motivation Research in Middle Schools in a STEM - After-School Program
  • Designed/developed instruments, collected data through interviews/observation, analyzed data, wrote reports, developed posters and wrote journal article drafts

Jan. 2011 – May 2013            Research on students’ perceptions of their advising experiences and ideas for improvement for the School of Education, Central Office                                                                                                     

  • Performed a preliminary data analysis
  • Research for the literature review

Aug. 2011 - June 2012            Advising – Research on undergraduate and graduate advising. Development of survey drafts for use in assessing the quality of advising services for master and doctoral students for the Director of the School of Education

  • Prepared research articles for a literature review
  • Developed a survey draft and coordinated committee meetings

Jan. - May 2012                      A Case Study on Student Advising in University Studies, an independent project

  • Conducted interviews with Academic Advisors in University Studies, performed data analysis
  • Article in preparation

Jan. - May 2012                      A Mixed Methods Content Analysis on 14 articles dealing with science methods

  • Collected articles from five science teaching journals, performed a content analysis,
  • Article was published in the International Journal of Science Education

May - June 2011                     A qualitative data analysis on the quality of advising services for masters degree students for the School of Education, main office

  • Analyzed responses from open-ended questions about the quality of master students‘ advising

Aug. 2010 – Jan. 2011      Research on engineering students’ use of digital media                      Virginia Tech Department of Engineering, Blacksburg, VA

  • Conducted research and wrote a literature review with Dr. Aditya Johri, a professor in the engineering department.

See published articles

Spring 2009                             Survey development and research advice for the Music Teachers Association in Iceland

Aug. 2005 – Aug. 2007           An examination of the relationship between organized music training and progress in reading and mathematics in 2nd and 3rd grade – Masters Thesis

A quantitative study, experimental research design, pretest/posttest, SPSS analysis