Presentation on theme: "Research in Language Learning and Teaching Short introduction to research and its planning."— Presentation transcript:
Research in Language Learning and Teaching Short introduction to research and its planning
What is research? “A systematic process of inquiry consisting of three elements or components: (1) a question, problem or hypothesis, (2) data, and (3) analysis and interpretation.” (Nunan 1992, 3)
Basic vs. applied research Basic research: –acquire knowledge for the sake of knowledge –get more complete understanding of world. Applied research: –“Deals with human and societal problems in the hopes of finding solutions to real-world problems.” –Not trying to postulate theory but trying to find answers for a specific time, place and context. (McKay 2006, 4)
Fundamentals in research Validity => Reliability => Success of measuring what was planned; strength of conclusion Research is repeatable Research should be able to meet the tests of: and, according to Nunan, be published (“’publish’ in the broad sense of ‘to make public’”) (Nunan 2005, 225)
Research paradigms Paradigm is a set of basic beliefs Three dominant paradigms: –Positivsm –Constructivism –Critical Theory Paradigm wars of the ’70s and ‘80s over More pragmatism reigns now but getting an overview still daunting for new researchers
Fork in the road Although the days of crude alternatives in research have passed and combinations are possible, a choice in language learning research normally has to be made for: Empirical research or description (of pedagogical practice) (textual- hermeneutic studies)
Research: What? Strictly speaking anything in language teaching. General areas: –Language policy –Syllabus, curriculum –Materials, textbooks, etc. –Technology –Methodology –Specific skills –Teaching of grammar, vocabulary, etc. –Language for specific purposes –Culture –Motivation, affective factors –Etc.
Overall Methodology Approach to research: Quantitative research (e.g. cross-sectional process-product) Qualitative –Ethnographic –Action research –Case study –Etc. Mixed method research Etc.
How: Methods (Tools?) Means of gathering data with certain procedures: Observation (sound, video, note-taking, material handed out) Survey/Feedback: –questionnaire, –interview (formal or informal) Conversation analysis Tests Verbal reports Learner diaries Ethnographic methods e.g. observation (multiple sources of data) and participation by researcher Case study Linguistic survey Corpus-based research Text-based research Etc.
Research: Who? Researchers: –Teachers –Learners (why not?) Being researched: –Learners (individuals, grades, groups: age, proficiency, etc.) –Teachers –All teaching material –Teaching situation –Texts ---> combinations possible or necessary
Research: Steps of research Determine general research area/topic Do survey of literature, i.e. research the topic Formulate research question or hypothesis Determine aim of research Describe theoretical basis Determine research design: –Methodology –Tools Collect data Describe process and results Discussion and Conclusion
Pilot study or prototype Useful before a large research project to test feasibility of hypothesis, planned methods, use of technology, etc. It is much smaller study than eventual project.
Tip on collecting sources Any photocopy you make or any good statement you write down, ALWAYS write the source down, i.e. where you found it. That means: 1.author, 2.date of publication, 3.title of book/journal article/website/…, place of publication and publisher (for book) OR title of journal, edition and number, page(s) (for journal) OR URL, date viewed (for website)
In closing … As researcher be aware of: your own assumptions on language learning and teaching the exact aim of research boundaries of research (or put differently: what you are NOT researching) choosing appropriate methods for the research the fact that research of language teaching and learning is about humans! “Protect” them and let them “benefit”. (McKay 2006, viii)
Bibliography Hinkel, E. (ed.). 2005. Handbook of research in second language teaching and learning. London: Routledge. Available on Google Books: http://books.google.co.za. (This book is highly recommended.)http://books.google.co.za McKay, S. 2006. Researching second language classrooms. London: Routledge. Available on Google Books. (This book is highly recommended.) Nunan, D. 1992. Research methods in language learning. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. Nunan, D. 2005. Classroom Research. In: E. Hinkel (ed.). Handbook of research in second language teaching and learning. London: Routledge. 225-240. Available on Google Books. Richards, K. 2009. Trends in qualitative research in language teaching since 2000. Language Teaching, 42(2): 147-180.