Academic Procrastination in Performing EFL Writings and their Causes

Master's Thesis, 2019

105 Pages, Grade: 18/20


Table of content




Tables of content

List of Tables

List of Figures

List of Abbreviations

Glossary of Terms

General introduction
I. Sources of Inspiration
II. Statement of the Problem and Research Questions
III. Hypothesis
IV. Aims of the Study
V. Methodology
VI. Significance of the Study
VII. The Organisation of the Work

Chapter one
A Brief Overview about Academic Procrastination in EFL
1.1 Introduction
Section 01: Introducing Procrastination
1.1.1. Definition of Procrastination
1.1.2. Types of Procrastinators
1.1.3. Main Theories of Procrastination Natural Instinct Theories Behaviouristic Theories Cognitive Theories Personality Traits Time Management Theories
Section 02: Theoretical Background on Academic procrastination and EFL Writing
1.2.1. Definition of Academic Procrastination
1.2.2. Characteristics of Academic Procrastination Psychological Beliefs About Abilities Distraction SocialFactors Laziness Lack of Personal Passion Lack of Time Management Skills
1.2.3. Academic Procrastination and Writing in EFL Writing in EFL The Writing Process in EFL
Section 03: Causes of Academic Procrastination
1.3.1. Causes of Academic Procrastination Anxiety Time Management The Effects of Poor Time Management Self-Regulation and Academic Procrastination Self-Regulated Learning Self-regulation in the Writing Process Self-Regulation Failure

Chapter Two
2.1. Introduction
Section One: Description of the Study
2.1. Research Design and Methods
2.2. Students’ Profile
2.3. Teachers’ Profile
Section Two: Results and Discussion
2.2.1. E-mail Questionnaire Results Discussion of the Questionnaire Findings
2.2.2. E-mail Interview Results Discussion of the Interview Results
Section 03: Limitations, Implications and Suggestions for Future Research
2.3.1. Limitations of the Study
2.3.2. Implications
2.3.3. Suggestions for Further Research
2.3.4. Recommendations
1.5. Conclusion
General Conclusion


Appendix01: Email Questionnaire

Appendix02: email interview


To our families, our parents especially,
thank you for your unconditional supporting,
to Makboul Redha,
to Ouarda, to our dear friends,
to whoever supported us,
to whoever loves us.


All praise goes to Allah, the most gracious and the most merciful.

We would like to acknowledge and thank our role model in teaching and our amazing supervisor Dr.Lahmer for her supervision, we wouldn’t come to finalize this work without her guidance and support along the way. We were so lucky to have her as our supervisor.

We also want to thank Master two students for their passionate participation and all the teachers who have contributed and have been involved in this study

Special thanks and huge applause go to Mr. Behira who was and still a great inspiration to us during all years of studying, words cannot be enough to show how grateful we are being his students.

This work wouldn’t be accomplished without the detailed feedback and patience of the numbers of the jury. Thank you, Mr.Hmaidia GHlamallah, and

Mr. Ammar Benabed.


The current study attempts to investigate the causes that lead students to academic procrastination in performing EFL writing. The target subjects are Master 2 students at the department of English at Ibn Khaldoun University of Tiaret. To reach this aim, this investigation is based on a relevant literature and on data collected through a mixed methodology based on both quantitative and qualitative methods. The quantitative method is presented as email questionnaire and the qualitative consisted of an email interview. The findings revealed that respondents encounter serious issues when they try to perform any EFL writing task. Moreover, participants reported that procrastination is due to many reasons including namely: poor time management, lack of self-regulation, and anxiety. However, their degree of procrastination is still vague. Lastly, this investigation involved a list of recommendations that may help students to face procrastination when having a writing assignment. Thus, this set of suggestions are highlighted to overcome both causes that lead students to academic procrastination and to reduce its impact.

Key Words: Procrastination, Academic procrastination, EFL writing, Writing process, Anxiety, Poor time management, Lack of self-regulation.

List of Tables

Table 1.1: Definitions of the Big Five Personality domains and the aspects that define each domain (as cited in Joubert, 2015:26)

Table 1.2: Stages of writing adopted from Williams (2003, p. 106-107)

Table 1.3 Factors of academic procrastination

Table 1.4: Self-regulation learning process Zimmerman (2002)

Table 2.1: General Information of participants

Table 2.2: Level of Anxiety

Table 2.3: Time management result

Table 2.4: Self-regulation Result

Table 2.5: Students’ Feelings Toward Essay Writing

Table 2.6: Students’ Feelings Toward Dissertation Writing

Table 2.7: Students’ feeling toward their writing tasks

Table 2.8: Students’ best time To Start their tasks

Table 2.9: Time Management Possibility

Table 2.10: Students’ preferable time of writing

Table 2.11: Students’ Organization in Writing Their Dissertation

Table 2.12: interview findings

List of Figures

Figurel.1: Causes that lead students to procrastination

Figure 1.2: the inter-relation between perfectionism, fear of failure, and anxiety

Figure 2.1/ 2.2/2.3/2.4: Respondents’ general information

Figure 2.5: students’ level of anxiety toward writing

Figure 2.6: students’ time management

Figure 2.7: students’ self-regulation

Figure 2.8: students’ behavior toward essay writing

Figure 2.9: Students’ behavior toward dissertation writing

Figure 2.10: Students’ feeling toward their writing tasks

Figure 2.11: students’ responses concerning their best time to start working on their written assignment

Figure 2.12: students’ time management

Figure 2.13: Different periods of time that students have chosen to start their written assignments

Figure 2.14: Students’ Organization in Writing Their Dissertation

Key to Abbreviations and Acronyms

CMC: computer-mediated communication EFL: English as a Foreign Language M2: Master 2 SRL: self-regulated learning

Glossary of Terms

To carry out this study, it is important to define the key concepts related this Investigation.

Academic procrastination. Steel described academic procrastination as follows:” a deliberate delay in a practical course of study or learning in spite of the expected deterioration. Academic procrastination occurs at all levels of education”.

Anxiety. Merriem-webster (2012) defined anxiety as “a painful or apprehensive uneasiness of mind usually over an impending or anticipated ill”. Students always experience academic anxiety and feel tense in academic tasks.

Procrastination. According to Steel (2007: 66), to procrastinate means “to voluntarily delay an intended course of action despite expecting to be worse offfor the delay.” That is, a student knows what he should do, but decides not to do it and may prefer to do other things even if they are less important.

Self-regulation. Zimmerman and Kitsantas (2014) described self-regulation as comprised of processes used “to activate and maintain cognitions, emotions and behaviours to attain personal goals” (p.145).

Self-regulation learning. Self-regulated learning (SRL) refers to processes that learners use to activate and maintain cognitions, emotions, and behaviours to attain personal goals (Zimmerman & Kitsantas, 2014).

Time Management. is the art of arranging, organizing, scheduling and budgeting one’s time for the purpose of generating more effectiveness and productivity.

Time management skills. time management is a skill that every student should not only know, but also apply. A lot of university students complain about running out of time when asked to do a certain task they get frustrated because they are not able to make it before the deadline. Time management is extremely important, especially when it comes to university students because it will boost their grades and enhance their productivity (Laurie & Hellsten, 2002).

Writing. Harefa (2003: 3) states that writing is synonymous with composing. Composing is a series of activities for an individual to express idea and to deliver it through written language in order to be understood by the reader.

Writing process. Graves (1983) considers writing a practice involving selection of topic, rehearsal and organisation of ideas in preparation for composition, redrafting, and publishing.

General Introduction


Most EFL students at university seek to be fluent in the language and acquire the speaking skills that the native speakers have. However, language is not all about speaking, because writing consider to be the main important skill that can guarantee better performance in learning.

1.2. Sources of inspiration:

Throughout the years of studying as an English language learner (EFL) at the Department of English at the university of Tiaret, we came to recognize that most students face difficulties to acquire the foreign language and to achieve their academic goals. We also came to realize that good students play an essential part in the learning process. Elite students give their best inside and outside the classroom in order to succeed. They participate and ask questions for better understanding, they seek for more information by reading books and investigate other sources related to their lessons, that is, they are self-regulated and know how to manage time effectively specially in learning. However, this strategy is not the same when it comes to other students, because each student has his own strategy to acquire learning skills. Our main focus was on writing, as students suffer mostly to improve their writing skill. It has been observed that procrastination is preventing students to succeed and develop their writing skill at university. Thus, we highlight the need of students to enhance their performance by managing time effectively in leaning. Still, procrastination has not been investigated before at the University of Tiaret. For that reason, the relevance of effective time management and the highly effects of procrastination on students’ achievement motivates us to conduct this study which is mainly for the contribution of clear understanding of the factors of procrastination affecting the writing performance and help to overcome it at the University of Tiaret.

1.3. Statement of the problem and Research questions:

Writing encourages thinking and learning, motivates communication, and makes thought available for reflection (Mekheimer, 2005). Due to the importance of writing, students are in urgent need to develop their writing skill in order to make a good progress in their higher studies. However, it can be seen that plenty of students struggle to write and face several problems to produce a good piece of writing. Whether writing essays, assignments or dissertations, it can be observed that most of M2 students at the Department of English at the university of Tiaret tend to delay their written task and miss deadlines. In other words, they procrastinate when writing which may be due to various causes including anxiety and self-regulation failure. This can affect negatively their academic achievement.

For this reason, students need to overcome their procrastination cycle and make more serious efforts to enhance their writing skills which only can be accomplished by managing time effectively and being self­regulated when writing. Faisal, et al (2014) mentioned that time management is very critical to students especially university students as it will improve their grades and increase their productivity. In sum, time management is the key to avoid delaying tasks.

Taking all these points into consideration, the main problem of this research is to investigate the reasons of academic procrastination in the writing and examine whether anxiety, poor time management, and lack of self-regulation can be the reasons behind students’ academic procrastination. Our case is M2 students at the Department of English at the university of Tiaret.

In order to proceed this study, the following questions need to be highlighted:

A / What are the causes that lead M2 students to procrastinate in writing?

B / to which extent these causes affect students’ writing?

C / How can we reduce the negative impact of these causes?

1.4. Hypothesis:

Academic procrastination can be viewed as a major phenomenon that prevents students to deliver their tasks on time, this problem can affect students’ academic achievement specially their written performance, thus overcoming this serious matter can help students to improve and develop their writing skills. In order to reduce the negative effects of procrastination on students’ writing performance we tend to investigate the real causes behind procrastination and check the impact of its factors on students.

Our main interest is centered on three different variables as followed: anxiety, students’ self regulation, and time management. We try to study the effects of these variables on students through out the writing process in order to find answers to the problems we have presented. As a result, we resort to submit the following hypotheses:

A. Anxiety, poor time management, and lack of self regulation are the real causes of procrastination.
B. Academic procrastination has major negative impact on students’ writing performance as they either fail to submit their tasks on time or produce poor quality works.
C. If students at the Department of English at the university of Tiaret manage their time effectively, they will regulate themselves and will be able to overcome their anxiety and fears. Also, if they follow the right strategies of the writing process, they would reduce academic procrastination.

1.5. Aims of the study:

The purpose of this study is to highlight the causes that lead students to procrastinate, to see how these causes affect students’ writing, and to seek how can we find ways to limit its negative impact so students can have better achievement on their written tasks. The aims of the study at first is to demonstrate the effective strategies of writing so the students can follow and solve the problems they face during the writing process. Then, highlighting the importance of both time management and self-regulation in improving the writing skills. In other words, the aim is to show that students who manage their time and succeed in being self­regulated are going to reach higher levels of academic achievement. Lastly, we aim to suggest some tips and recommendation about overcoming the academic procrastination by showcasing the impact of time management which can help our students to reduce their procrastination habits.

1.6. Methodology:

1.6.1. Data collection methods and procedures:

Our design is empirical as we seek to test the amount of validity of our hypotheses, and this process was fully experimental. For this reason, both quantitative and qualitative method is used for data collection.

The quantitative method is mainly based on email questionnaire which consists of a set of open and close ended questions. Our main purpose from choosing this latter as a testing method is to examine the impact of our variables on the sample, evaluate the answers, and discuss the findings of each variable from the results we gain. In this questionnaire, we targeted different elements of writing and types of written tasks such as: essay writing, and dissertation writing. For the qualitative method, our selection is an email interview and the aim of using such a tool is to check how teachers think about our variables in depth. Then, we use the results as reliable data to test if it is compatible with the results obtained before using the previous research tool.

16.2. Data analysis Procedures:

After collecting all the data, the next step is to analyze it using Excel 2016 software in order get the percentages and statistics that we need for the interpretation of the findings.

1.6.3. Population and Sample:

The population of this study is Master two students at the department of English at the university of Tiaret. Only 30 students out of more than 90 student were chosen as our sample which is selected from both Didactics and linguistics branches. The reason behind choosing this sample at this specific level of study is mainly because students at this point supposed to acquire the needed knowledge about writing as they deal with various written tasks including dissertation. In addition, Master two students have sufficient academic experience that help them to comment on the difficulties of writing and provide us with clear information.

At the same time, they have the urge to develop their writing skills to succeed in the upcoming challenges.

1.7. Significance of the Study:

Scholars have highlighted numerous problems associated with academic procrastination and its negative impacts on students’ performance, e.g. low achievement of students and their increased physical and psychological problems (Ferrari & Pychyl (2008), anxiety (Lay, 1995; Onwuegbuzie 2004), irregularity, confusion and irresponsibility (Rivait 2007). However, not enough studies have tested the real causes of academic procrastination or how it relates to factors such as time management and self-regulation. Thus, our aim of this study is to investigate the negative impact that academic procrastination can make on students’ achievement and seek to find out strategies that could help students to reduce their procrastination habits. This study adds a great contribution to the literature as it focuses on these tasks:

1/ Help students understand different affective strategies of the writing process.
2/ Shed more light on a very modern dangerous phenomenon which is academic procrastination.
3/ Raise awareness about procrastination.; how it can affect university students’ academic career.

Procrastination appears to affect students in so many different ways even mentally; Essau, Ederer, O’Callaghan, & Aschemann, (2008) states that high level procrastination makes students unable to regulate and organize them achieve their academic goals causing them depression, anxiety and stress. Also, it may prevent educators to make any progress in their learning. Therefore, in order for students to succeed, they will have to eliminate these procrastination habits, so they can improve the writing skills, and achieve great goals throughout their academic life. Effective time management and planning will encourage students to put an end to delaying and postponing their important written tasks.

1.8. Organization of the work:

This research work contains two different chapters. The first one is theoretical including a whole overview of the existing literature about academic procrastination and our variables. In the first section, we introduce the definition of procrastination, its types and theories. In section two, we present the characteristics of academic

procrastination. The last section includes two main parts, the first is about the writing process and the second is about the causes of academic procrastination.

The second chapter is practical divided into two sections. Section one includes: data collection, the findings, the results. While section two is about limitations of the study, implications, and suggestions for further studies, plus to the recommendation.



The present research work aims at providing a clear answer to our central problem. It is devoted for understanding what is the real definition of procrastination, characteristics, types, and theories. It aims to investigate why students at University tend to delay their written tasks and avoid to submit their academic assignments on time, in this chapter, the main causes that lead English University students of Tiaret to academic procrastination has been highlighted.

Section One: Introducing an Overview About Procrastination

Procrastination has been always a serious phenomenon among people until it became a part of their lives. Procrastination is defined as the delay of a task until it has passed the optimal time. to procrastinate means to delay an intended course of action despite of expecting bad results for the delay. That is, a student knows what he has to do, but decides not to do it and may prefer to do other things even if they are less important.

1.1.1. Definition of procrastination

The term “procrastination” is a word derived from the Latin term “procrastinate” that means to delay, pause, put off, or postpone a task. Ancient Greeks philosophers like Aristole and Socrates described this behavioral issue with a name of “Akrasia”. It is the state of acting against your better judgment. It is when you do one thing even though you know you should do something else, according to those philosophers “Akarsia” is procrastination or a lack of self-control. It has been mentioned that the term procrastination is considered as a bad habit and a behavioral issue experienced by different people in their daily activities. writing around 800 BC, Hesiod, one of the first recorded poets of Greek literature, provided one of the earliest possible citations. His words are worth repeating in full:

Do not put your work off till to-morrow and the day after; for a sluggish worker does not fill his barn, nor one who puts off his work: industry makes work go well, but a man who puts off work is always at hand-grips with ruin. (as cited in steel 2007: 67).

Procrastination can be described as an attitude of delaying, putting off, or postponing a task. It may affect students’ academic career which may result failure. There are different factors that appear to be related to procrastination among university students, anxiety, lack of commitment, inappropriate time management, social problem and so many other factors. procrastination effects the self-efficacy & self-actualization, distractibility, impulsiveness, self-control and organizational behavior of the students. It makes students lazy & passive developing delaying tendency in them; either they feel hesitation in taking initiatives or fear to start a work or an assignment.

Physical, emotional and mental problems are associated with procrastination. It may produce embarrassment and inferiority complex among students of which the Thompson, Davidson, and Barber (1995) mentioned that negative relationship between level of ego identity and procrastination; it decreases confidence among students and their anticipation of completing a task (Steel, 2007); resulting in unhealthy sleep, diet and exercise habits (Sirois & Pychyl, 2002); yields to higher rates of smoking, drinking, digestive ailments, insomnia and cold and flu symptoms (Adkins and Parker, 1996); increases a lot of stress, worry, and fear leading a miserable life with shame and self-doubt creating and raising anxiety and deteriorates self-esteem (Hoover, 2005); affects achievement of goals creating anxiety (Scher and Nelson, 2002); and causes higher stress, low self-esteem, depression, cheating, plagiarism, higher use of alcohol, cigarette and caffeine and decreased ability to maintain healthy self-care habits like exercise and eating (Goode, 2008).

Schouwenburg (2004) introduced a point of view in defining procrastination. According to his perspective, procrastination is viewed as a behavioral issue in which a person lacks time management and effective study methods. This definition presents that procrastination is a delaying responsibilities or crucial options basis as a part of behavioral characteristic. Moreover, this definition also applies to academic procrastination in that students engage in the behavior by failing to complete the given assignment.

Studies find that procrastination includes behavioral, emotional, and cognitive components which make discussion on types of procrastination complicated. Researchers state that procrastination has different types including general procrastination, decision-making procrastination, neurotic procrastination, obsessive procrastination, academic procrastination.

Procrastination has furthermore been defined as the discrepancy between intent and behavior (Lay, 1994), and procrastinator behavior increases as this discrepancy increases (Schraw et al., 2007). Senecal et al. (1995) described procrastination as a global weakness of people, and argued that procrastination effect the academic domain mostly. Besides, Milgram et al. (1998) defined procrastination as a behavioral tendency in putting of what should be done, or postponing an activity that already planed to be performed.

According to Van Eerde (2000, p. 375) procrastination is a “motivational mechanism, serving the purpose of avoiding a threat temporarily, in order to protect one’s well-being in the short term”, a view comes along with Freud’s pleasure seeking principal. An action is thus postponed when the threat is dealt with by avoiding it, and procrastination subsequently occurs.

It has been found that procrastination starts in secondary school and stay persistent throughout university, with more than 50% of the students reporting a steady delay causing problems (Steel, 2007). McGhie (2012) mentioned that lack of proper planning and time management may lead to procrastination.

1.1.2. Types of procrastinators

As previously mentioned, the exact nature of procrastination is still being debated (Steel, 2010: 1) and research about it has aroused many issues concerning its nature. Ferrari (2000) stated that procrastinators are categorized into three types: the first type is arousal procrastinators who always beat the deadline, they find it suitable to their plans and full of enthusiasm. The second types are the ones who are called the avoiders that postpone their activities due to the low of self-efficacy. The last one are known as decisional procrastinators which is when the procrastinators are unable to make decision at the right time.

Moreover, Brownlow and Reasinger (2000) mentioned that procrastinators in general has three different characteristics; the first one is that academic procrastinators do not know how to regulate themselves like setting plans. Second, they are disgruntled or dissatisfied about their performance. They always earn underachieving grades. The last one is that academic procrastinators do not spend much time on their studies and their academic tasks, they start working late and delay submitting their tasks.

Procrastinators are classified into two types active and passive procrastinators Chu and Choi (2005). Active procrastinators delay their tasks on purpose and focus on what they prefer, but they can manage their activities timely. Active procrastinators already make decisions to procrastinate, but they finally finish their tasks under high feeling motivated under high pressure, yet they usually score satisfactory results (Choi & Moran, 2009). Based on Corkin, Yu and Lindt (2011). Active procrastination is a functional form of postponement. To a better understanding, this kind of procrastinators are able to perform on time, even if they putt off their activities. Passive procrastinators is the other type that has negative effect on students. Based on previous studies, passive procrastinators are the ones who cannot make decisions, they procrastinate unintentionally but they always postpone their tasks because they are not able to make the right decisions and do not know how to act towards it (Chu & Choi, 2005: 247). Inactive or passive procrastinators always delaying their tasks until there is not enough time and they feel guilty and depressed and discomfort (Ferrai, 1994) which may lead to failure in completing the tasks.

To put it in a nutshell, Passive procrastinators differ from active procrastinators cognitively, affectively and behaviorally.

1.1.3. Main theories of procrastination

It has been said that it is impossible to get rid of procrastination habit. Procrastinators may not be able to understand the main reasons why they procrastinate. It has been reported that procrastinators will always give excuses and justify their postponement with one reason, and provide another one to other people. For this, there are various theories and different empirical studies have been done about procrastination. By reading the literature of procrastination, there will be categories may include the main causes of procrastination, and it has been classified into five groups of theories. Natural instinct theories

Procrastination can be a natural instinct and non-procrastination is a social imposed behavior. McCown (1987) stated that behaviorists postulate procrastination as humans’ preference for enjoyable activities and short-term rewards. Humans often desire to get immediate satisfaction, instead of waiting for the reward. According to these theorists, mankind tend to delay tasks that have distant consequences. Human prefer short­term goals to the long ones because they want to feel immediate satisfaction. Many students prefer to choose the most pleasurable activities such as watching tv, workout, use social media and they put their academic tasks aside because they think that their tasks have distant consequences. A previous investigation (Dietz et al, 2007) shows also that students who prefer pleasure and leisure activities would procrastinate in their academic tasks. Behavioristic theories

In the behaviorist system, reinforcement theorists formulate assumptions that procrastination is upgraded by the repeated individuals’ success of doing dilatory behavior. Theoretically, classical learning explains that behaviors usually happen through the provision of reinforcement or lack of punishment (Ainslie, 1975). For procrastinators, this was reflected by their high capability to remember the incident of their success when facing a deadline. Different approach made by behavioristic theorist focused on behaviors to avoid unwanted or unpleasant stimulus (Solomon & Rothblum, 1984). Escape conditioning occur when a person start doing his task then he stops (Honig, cited in Ferrari, Johnson, and McCown, 1995). This will promote the growth of quitting before finishing the task. Previous studies mentioned that avoidance conditioning occur when a person made an extraordinary effort to avoid the activity. Ainslie (1975) said that individuals would experience avoid conditioning when when receiving reinforcement with varying frequencies. Also, he stated that people tend to select short-term reinforcement or rewards rather than long-term goals, where short-term reinforcement causes immediate pleasure. According to this understanding, procrastinators are the ones who were wonted to choose short-term rewards instead of long-term goals which increases anxiety in return. This case facilitates the avoidance of the task and lead the individual to repeat on other tasks in the future (Ferrari, et al, 1995). Cognitive theories

Gredler (2005) mentioned that cognitive theory is the first theory that is associated with academic procrastination because it gives details about student learning and motivation which comes through an interaction of behavior, cognitive factors, and the environment. A researcher called Albert Bandura who is a main researcher associated with social cognitive theory, studied and analyzed what students believe and think about their abilities and understanding of the performance situation. Bandura (1997) considered when students engage in learning, they direct and regulate themselves which effect their self-efficacy.

Procrastination has different reasons for its cognitive components, not only an insufficiency in study skills (Rothblum et al, 1985). According to some cognitive theorists, humans’ behavior interacts with their cognition. They often tend to accept the conclusion of their desire of what they want and what to avoid determining the conclusion of what they do not want (Sigall et al, 2000). People behavior are influenced by their thoughts and values as well as procrastination, and there are various studies for better explanations of cognitive theories. Personality traits

Literature on procrastination shows that personality traits are important factors related to procrastination. Based on Johnson and Bloom (1995), procrastination seen as a relatively stable personality variable (see also Choi & Moran, 2009) that can be listed as an aspect in more comprehensive and general models of personality traits, for instance the Big Five model of personality (De Raad & Perugini, 2002; McCrae & Costa, 1985). De Bruin and Rudnick (2007) confirmed that some people are more likely to procrastinate than others.

A quite number of studies in the educational context looked for the relationships among personality traits, academic performance, motivation, and satisfaction (Komarraju, Karau, & Schmeck, 2009; Oswald, Schmitt, Kim, Ramsay, & Gillespie, 2004; Paunonen & Ashton, 2001; Trapman, Hell, Hirn, & Schuler, 2007) and de Bruin and Rudnick (2007) furthermore argued that it could be productive to link academic procrastination to the factors of the Big Five model of personality. According to this model, individual differences in personality can satisfactorily and comprehensively be described in terms of five traits. The coming table is the big five model explained providing each domain of each aspect.

Neuroticism: identifies individuals who are prone to psychological distress Anxiety: level of free floating anxiety

Angry Hostility: tendency to experience anger and related states such as frustration and bitterness

Depression: tendency to experience feelings of guilt, sadness, despondency and loneliness Self-Consciousness: shyness or social anxiety

Impulsiveness: tendency to act on cravings and urges rather than reining them in and delaying gratification

Vulnerability: general susceptibility to stress

Extraversion: quantity and intensity of energy directed outwards into the social world

Warmth: interest in and friendliness towards others

Gregariousness: preference for the company of others

Assertiveness: social ascendancy and forcefulness of expression

Activity: pace of living

Excitement Seeking: need for environmental stimulation Positive Emotions: tendency to experience positive emotions

Openness to Experience: the active seeking and appreciation of experiences for their own sake

Fantasy: receptivity to the inner world of imagination Aesthetics: appreciation of art and beauty Feelings: openness to inner feelings and emotions

Actions: openness to new experiences on a practical level Ideas: intellectual curiosity

Values: readiness to re-examine own values and those of authority figures

Agreeableness: the kinds of interactions an individual prefers from compassion to tough mindedness

Trust: belief in the sincerity and good intentions of others

Straightforwardness: frankness in expression Altruism: active concern for the welfare of others Compliance: response to interpersonal conflict Modesty: tendency to play down own achievements and be humble.

Tender-Mindedness: attitude of sympathy for others

Conscientiousness: degree of organization, persistence, control and motivation in goal directed behaviour

Competence: belief in own self efficacy Order: personal organization

Dutifulness: emphasis placed on importance of fulfilling moral obligations Achievement Striving: need for personal achievement and sense of direction Self-Discipline: capacity to begin tasks and follow through to completion despite boredom or distractions.

Deliberation: tendency to think things through before acting or speaking.

Table 1.1: Definitions of the Big Five Personality domains and the aspects that define each domain (as cited in Joubert, 2015:26). Time management theories

Poor time management is considered one of the reasons for delay (Balkis and Duru, 2007), and procrastinators are often considered as having problem in their time estimation (Pychyl et al, 2000b). It has been mentioned that there are two kinds of time management problems. The first kind is miscalculation of time, and the second one is the lack of self-regulation skills. For the first type, Ferrari et al (1995) mentioned that students have a wrong concept of time and miscalculate time available for them to complete the activity. Some kind of students tend to over-estimate their ability in completing assignments; as a result, they procrastinate (Sigall et al, 2000). For this kind of procrastinators, an investigation (Buehler et al, 1994) showed that most students can complete their assignments before deadlines, even though they are still later than their own predicted time (Buehler et al 1994). The second type of time management is a lack of self-regulated skills. Lack of self­regulated lead to procrastination (Tuckman and Sexton, 1989; Senecal et al, 1995). Self-regulated skills include planning, self-motivation, and self-evaluation are important to make someone on action (Ferrari et al, 1995). Some kind of students do not plan for their studies and assignments, while the other kind do have plan for their studies but they do not respect their plan (Ferrari et al, 1995). Planning is a crucial part of self-regulation. Without planning, it is unlikely to complete academic responsibilities on time. The term ‘plan fallacy’ was pointed out by Kahneman and Tversky (1979), which means a false belief in which people tend to be over­optimistic and have over-confidence about their planned time to complete an assignment. Planning fallacy not only takes place among students, it is also a common phenomenon that it prevails among academics (Buehler et al 1994). Planning fallacy is an optimistic thought and it leads to frequently underestimate the time needed for tasks (Pychyl et al, 2000b). to conclude, having a good self-regulation may reduce the academic procrastination. When students can self- regulate their work, they are less likely to procrastinate.

Section Two: Theoretical Background on Academic procrastination and EFL Writing

Many students face challenge when presented with deadlines. Some manage the situation and succeed to complete their assignments on time, whereas others fail to do so and end up procrastinating. Hence, it is very important for students to understand this problem. For this, the present section is devoted for understanding what academic procrastination is and why students tend so frequently to postpone their tasks and avoid writing.

1.2.1. Definition of academic procrastination

Academic procrastination which is experienced by approximately 95 % of college students (Ellis & Knaus, 1977), is defined as needless delay in beginning or completing tasks (Rothblum et al.,1986). Steel described student/academic procrastination as follows:” a deliberate delay in a practical course of study or learning in spite of the expected deterioration. Academic procrastination occurs at all levels of education ” An investigation showed that procrastination among university students is widely spread and more common, and other studies reported that more than 70 % of students regularly procrastinate.

According to Senecal et al. (1995), Tice and Baumeister (1997), van Eerde (2003) and Wolters (2003) academic procrastination is the continuing failure to timeously complete academic tasks. According to recent investigations, academic procrastination has been found to be associated with many negative academic outcomes like missing deadlines for submitting assignments. It has also been associated with negative psychological outcomes, such as depression, low self-esteem, anxiety, guilt and stress (Pychyl, Lee, Thibodeau & Blunt, 2000; Tice & Baumeister, 1997).

Deniz et al (2009) defined academic procrastination as a postponement of academic responsibility, such as submitting assignments, preparing for examinations, activities...etc. Academic procrastination is described as a delay of academic responsibilities until the optimal time passes (Solomon and Rothblum,1984; Hess et al, 2000). When students keep procrastinating, procrastination would become a habit and this is considered as a personal traits(Schouwenburg and Lay, 1995). Previous studies (Ellis and Knaus, 1977; Schouwenburg, 1995; Ferrari et al, 1995; Jiao and Onwuegbuzie,1999; Klassen et al, 2008) about 70-95% the undergraduate students that experienced academic procrastination. Whilst 50% of them have a tendency of procrastination (Hill et al,1978; Solomon and Rothblum, 1984) and 20-30% of them are considered as severe procrastinators ( Klassen et al, 2008). Furthermore, Beck et al (2000) stated that academic procrastination as a long-lasting issue of 70% of the college students. Different researchers have found a number of primary and secondary problems associated with academic procrastination, e.g. low achievement of students and their increased physical and psychological problems Ferrari & Pychyl (2008), anxiety (Lay, 1995; Onwuegbuzie 2004), irregularity, confusion and irresponsibility (Rivait 2007).

1.2.2. Characteristics of Academic Procrastination

Academic procrastination is associated with different characteristics that contribute in making students avoid and postpone their tasks. Previous studies mentioned six characteristics of academic procrastination including; Psychological beliefs about abilities, Distraction, Social factors of procrastination, Laziness, Personal passion, and Lack of time management skills. Psychological beliefs about abilities

This aspect of procrastination is to work under pressure and it is known as “sensation-seeking” in similar studies. Students with academic cunctation or procrastination always look for work under pressure, they have an extreme belief that they can do their tasks under pressure. This kind of belief is mentioned in other study that is known as self-image. It is a meditative view that people have about themselves and particularise students’ belief about their effectiveness or ineffectiveness. The higher students’ belief about their effectiveness, the more cunctation increases in them. this is due to their self-confidence in their abilities and positive perspective about themselves. According to Schraw (2007) that students who delay their studies until exam night experience a high level of challenge. Meanwhile, in other studies mention that students who hold their studying until exam night are mostly poor in class activities. distraction

Students who procrastinate are easily distracted by interesting activities and by what they prefer doing. Instead of taking care of their responsibility and work on their important cases, they give priority and their attention to the more pleasant daily activities, watching TV, playing video games, and chatting using the social media, etc. It has been said that students who prefer silly activities in which are not to their perspective, they procrastinate more and replace their crucial tasks with what they call “pleasant activities”. In this case, the low- level persistence and the increasing of distraction when working on tasks are due to the poor self-regulating and time-managing which have been identified as factors of procrastination. Social factors

Previous studies on procrastination point that students who are affected by cunctation usually fail in self­regulating behaviors. Self-regulation includes the ability for matching at regulating individual’s performance in various atmospheres. Students ignore and avoid their assignments and projects when they feel anxious or in a very stressful circumstance. University students may leave their academic priority like assignments, tasks aside and they keep socialize with friends, families instead of doing their activities. Hence, addicting to these social factors is a sign of procrastination. Laziness

Previous scholarly works academic procrastination showed the effect of some factors including laziness. Laziness is an attitude of mind which make the person avoid his activity or work, though there is the needed physical power to do the work. According to what Solomon and Rothblum (1984) reported that avoidance of working and laziness are approximately 18% of procrastination reasons. Thus, procrastination or known cunctation may be resulted by avoiding academic activities and laziness. Lack of personal passion

Investigators presented that procrastination is not a delay caused only by situational or social variables, but also can be caused by attitude or characteristic known as passion. Passion is general set of willingness or ability to initiate or perform the activity with energy. Lack of passion is introduced as a reason for procrastination. If the students have low level of passion, there would be no stimulation to finish the work in time. If the students have the passion and motivated they would be more active academically.

I.2.2.6. Lack of time management skills

Time management is the ability to control tasks and behaviors according to the time planning. Procrastinators cannot manage and organize their time. Solomon reported that time management has been always a problem causes academic procrastination. Time management skill cannot be inherited; it can be learnt to organize daily activities. In order to manage time, students should perform their activities and assignments timely and respect the deadlines. Poor time management may lead the students forget their assignments. So, poor time management can be considered as a main reason that produce academic procrastination.

1.2.3. Academic procrastination and writing in EFL

Graham et al. (2008) stated that it is not surprising that many students struggle with the writing performance. Regarding this point, Students’ difficulties are related either to lack of knowledge about the writing or avoiding to engage in its stages (procrastination). Writing is not an easy task, students face so many problems when they try to do their writing assignments. Thus, they start make excuses and keep delaying their activity instead of doing their task. It has been said that academic procrastination and writing performance are negatively connected. Writing in EFL

Students who acknowledge the importance of writing and work to develop effective writing skills will have a better chance to elevate themselves and perform well in the academic field. (Alexander, 2008) stresses that strong writing skills may enhance students' chances for success. Also, Suleiman (2000) tells that writing is an essential factor of language. However, effective writing requires huge efforts from students; To be effective in communicating their message, writers need to be selective in their choices and use of language, form and function, with an awareness of the impact they wish to create and how they might do this (Davis, 2013; Ministry of Education, 1992; 2006). Clearly, writing is a complex, challenging process requiring learners to manage an array of cognitive, metacognitive, linguistic, and behavioral strategies within a social context (Harris et al., 2011; Myhill & Fisher, 2010).

There are plenty definitions about writing, but it can be defined differently according to different point of views. In this research work, writing is defined from the process approach which sees language as a personal process that includes two crucial skills: creativity and critical thinking (Elbow, 2000: 7). Silva (1990) mentioned that in L2 writing, the individual engages in the discovery and expression of meaning. Which means that students are totally free to think and express their ideas. Writing is a process of exploring and making meaning (Zamel, 1983). She argued that ideas and thoughts are discovered, classified and developed through the act of writing and then as this process carries on, new ideas and thoughts suggest themselves and become integrated into the developing pattern of thought (as cited in Ferjani, 2010: 9). To a better understanding, writing is not just emerging words and sentences to formulate a proper text, but it involves students’ reflection. In other words, the most important element is how the student translate his abstract thoughts into a meaningful written text regarding the importance of grammar and the mechanics of writing.

Another definition is provided by Zimmerman and Reisenberg (1997) where they define writing as: “a goal oriented and self-sustained activity requiring the skilful management of thewriting environment; the constraints imposed by the writing topic; the intentions of the writer(s), and the processes, knowledge, and skills involved in composing” (as cited in Anderman, 2009: 564).

This piece of quotations means that students have to deal foreign language writing from different angles taking into account the topic, linguistic knowledge and the processes involved in the writing process.

To sum up, writing includes the active role of students who engage in writing as a process of thinking and evaluation through different cognitive and metacognitive processes, in addition to the importance of knowledge about language.

Graham et al. (2008) stated that it is not surprising that many students struggle with the writing performance. Regarding this point, Students’ difficulties are related either to lack of knowledge about the writing performance or avoiding to engage in its stages (procrastination). Writing is not an easy task, students face so many problems when they try to do their writing assignments. Thus, they start make excuses and keep delaying their activity instead of doing their task. It has been said that academic procrastination and writing performance are negatively connected.

1.2.2. The writing process in EFL

Researchers argue that when writing, students go through different levels that are recursive and cyclical (Bae, 2011). For instance, Harris et al (2011) describe writing as a “recursive, strategic, and multi-dimensional process” (p.188) involving the writer in organizing ideas and information, deciding how to communicate it, creating the text and finally, revising and editing it. To support that, Graves (1983) considers writing as a practice involving selection of topic, rehearsal and organization of ideas in preparation for composition, redrafting, and publishing.

“Writers then begin composing their texts, utilising knowledge of language features, structure, vocabulary, grammar and punctuation to construct texts suited to their intended purpose and audience. Ideas are crafted and recrafted as writers clarify and synthesise ideas, and engage their audience (Davis, 2013; Graves, 1983; Ministry of Education, 1992; 2006).

This description addresses different cognitive processes (planning, composition, revising ...) which students use in the process of writing. Furthermore, Zamel (1990) claims that skilled writers appear to be conscious of the writing process as discovering ideas and contrasting meaning (as cited in Ferjani, 2010). This means, throughout the process, writers have to evaluate the quality and effectiveness of their work by planning, revising and editing in order to made a great impact on their audience.

“Good writers form their intentions or plans for writing by setting goals, deciding on their purpose and audience, and choosing the genre their writing will take. As plans are formulated, writers draw on their prior knowledge, observations and previous writing experiences. While they research, select and organise their ideas and information, they make decisions about what to include and how to sequence ideas. They may then share plans with othersfor feedback (Davis, 2013; Harris et al., 2011; Ministry of Education, 1992; 2006).

Williams (2003) phase model of writing has been adopted in the current study in order to provide a clear description of the writing process. This phase model consists of eight processes of writing: prewriting, planning, drafting, pausing, reading, revising, editing, and publishing. In short, William (2003) stresses that these processes are essential for effective writing. Each process comprises various activities that are associated with effective writing and recursive nature of the writing process (Williams, 2003). The main focus for this study has been only on prewriting, planning, drafting editing, and publishing. (Table 02) represents A brief definition and description of each process has been provided in the table below.


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Academic Procrastination in Performing EFL Writings and their Causes
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Oualid Bouhaous (Author), 2019, Academic Procrastination in Performing EFL Writings and their Causes, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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