An analysis of commitment in academic contexts is presented by examining evaluative
beliefs related to the self, the lecturer and instruction. The conceptual framework adopted draws on a philosophical analysis of commitment (Lieberman 1998) in which commitment is presented as a cognitive state that requires the presence of evaluative beliefs beyond mere affective states such as the desire to achieve a goal. A complexity perspective (Cilliers 1998) was taken to conceptualise the research design which included Northcutt and McCoy’s (2004) Interactional Qualitative Analysis (IQA). Results provide support for the requirement that evaluative beliefs related to the self, lecturer and instruction can play an important role in regulating students’ intentions and planful behaviour. The
primary conclusion is that commitment is self-regulatory in nature and that a salient positive learning identity may play a role in fostering beliefs and behaviours consistent with such an identity.