Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)


Kinesiology, Sport Studies and Physical Education

First Advisor

Dr. R. Scott Kretchman


This study attempted to discover the actual lived nature or lived experience of motivation in physical activity, focusing on intrinsic and extrinsic factors. This was done by phenomenologically analyzing intrinsic, extrinsic and general motivation, doing a self-study of motivation as experienced in physical activity, and studying other's motivation through an interview process. Focus centered on six areas: the motivation responsible for initiating and continuing activity, the pattern of motivation within an activity, the effect of past experiences on future motivation, whether a hierarchy of motives exists, whether intrinsic and extrinsic motives are additive, detractive or both, and the role of play, great moments, flow experiences, and peak experiences in the process of motivation. The phenomenology was used to analyze the interview material and self-study in regard to these six areas. Based on this analysis, conclusions were drawn. The primary motivation for initiating or continuing activity may be either intrinsic or extrinsic. No definite pattern of motivation was found. The past experiences of subjects seemed to have some effect on their present and future doing. A hierarchy of motives seemed to exist in most cases. However, this ranking was seldom clear and often changing. Intrinsic and extrinsic factors may be additive or detractive or simply co-exist. Finally, play, flow and peak experiences were seen to be primarily intrinsic, while great moments fell into either an intrinsic or extrinsic category depending how they were perceived. This study supports the belief that reference to involvement in a physical activity as being intrinsically or extrinsically motivated is too simplistic, misleading and often incorrect.