Psychological Reports, 1986, 58, 525-526.

(With a post-publication addendum following the original article)



University o f New South Wales, Australia [1]


Selected references to methods of measuring achievement motivation are listed.

Projective methods of measuring achievement motivation have been in disrepute for some time because they lack reliability (Entwisle, 1972). Atkinson, Bongort and Price (1977) have shown that low reliabilities as measured by coefficient alpha may not necessarily be a fatal flaw in projective tests but they do not address the problem of low test-retest reliabilities. There is therefore a clear need for non-projective measures of achievement motivation. There are many such measures but for some reason normal bibliographical search procedures do not yield most. Perhaps the best evidence of this is that the most extensive published catalogue of such tests (Fineman, 1977) lists only 16 of the more than 70 available. The problem is made worse by the fact that the literature is highly non-cumulative. Most authors of such tests seem never to have heard of one-another although the literature goes back 45 years or more. After many years of reading the literature, the present author has put together an annotated bibliography giving details of most of the 70 or more tests that have been published [2]. Some additional references on the topic are also listed below.


ATKINSON, J. W., BONGORT, K., & PRICE, L. H. (1977) Explorations using computer simulation to comprehend thematic apperceptive measurement of motivation. Motivation & Emotion, 1, 1-27.

BLUEN, S. D., & BARLING, J. (1983) Work values in white South African males. J. Cross-Cultural Psychol., 14, 329-335.

BORGATTA, E. F. (1967) The work components study: a set of measures for work motivation. J. psychol. Studies, 16, 1-11.

ELIZUR, D. (1979 ) Assessing achievement motive of American and Israeli managers: design and application of a three-facet measure. Appl. Psychol. Measmt, 3, 201212.

ENTWISLE, D. R. (1972) To dispel fantasies about fantasy-based measures of achievement motivation. Psychol. Bull., 77, 377-391.

FINEMAN, S. (1977) The achievement motivation construct and its measurement: where are we now? Brit. J. Psychol., 68, 1-22.

FURNHAM, A. (1984) The Protestant work ethic: a review of the psychological literature. Europ. J. soc. Psychol., 14, 87-104.

HELMREICH, R. L., BEANE, W., LUCKER, G. W., & SPENCE, J. T. (1978) Achievement motivation and scientific attainment. Personality & Social Psychology Bulletin, 4, 222-226.

JOINER, C. (1982) A note on reliability coefficients for the Manifest Needs Questionnaire. J. Occupational Psychology, 55, 149-150.

KEINAN, G., MEIR, E., & GOME-NEMIROVSKY, G. (1984) Measurement of risk-takers' personality. Psychological Reports, 55, 163-167.

LEFCOURT, H. M., VON BAEYER, C. L., WARE, E. E., & COX, D. J. (1979) The multidimensional-multiattributional causality scale: the development of a goal-specific locus of control scale. Canad. J. Behav. Sci., 11, 286-304.

MACHUNGA, P. D., & SCHMITT, N. (1983) Work motivation in a developing country. J. appl. Psychol., 68, 31-42.

ORPEN, C. (1983) Risk-taking attitudes among Indian, United States, and Japanese managers. J. soc. Psychol., 120, 283-284.

STEERS, R. M., & BRAUNSTEIN, D. N. (1976) A behaviorally based measure of manifest needs in work settings. J. voc. Behav., 9, 251-266.

TZINER, A., & ELIZUR, D. (1985) Achievement motive: a reconceptualization and new instrument. J. occup. Behav., 6, 209-228.

WOLLACK, S., GOODALE, J. G., WIJTING, J. P., & SMITH, P. C. (1971) Development of the Survey of Work Values. J. appl. Pfychol., 55, 331-338.

Accepted January 27, 1986.


[1] School of Sociology, University of New South Wales, POB 1, Kensington, NSW Australia 2033.

[2] Self-report measures of achievement motivation: a catalog. Document ED 237 523, ERIC Clearinghouse on tests. Princeton, NJ: Educational Testing Service, 1984.


This is a deceptively simple paper but what it reveals totally discredits academic psychology and shows it to be nothing more than a fraud on the taxpayer. Psychology pretends to be scientific but is not. In a true science, knowledge is cumulative. Each researcher builds on what other researchers before him have found. In my paper I show that this is not remotely the case in psychology. The example I give is from an important area of psychology but shows that each year some psychologist somewhere publishes the same "new" idea over and over again -- and nobody notices. For decades psychologists have been rediscovering the wheel each year. There is no accumulation of understanding at all. Nobody KNOWS of what has gone before, let alone being able to build on it.

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