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Doing Second Language Research

Doing Second Language Research

An introduction to the theory and practice of second language research for graduate/Master's students in TESOL and Applied Linguistics, and others

Format: Paperback

This book gives a clear, accessible introduction to all the main types of second language research.

  • ISBN: 978-0-19-437174-2

Are you about to start a Master's degree where you will be carrying out research for the first time? Or do you refer to research in your work as a teacher, teacher trainer, or materials writer? However you are involved with research, this book will give you a clear and thorough introduction to all the main types of language learning research.

Key features

  • Familiarizes you with the basic types of research design used in second language studies
  • Gives you a genuine 'feel' for what doing research is like, by giving you specific roles (e.g. research subject, data collector, data analyst, reporter) within a variety of mini-studies
  • Explains different research types in detail: why they are used; how they are designed; what the different stages are for carrying them out; and how to evaluate them.
  • Introduces you to some of the classic research studies into second language learning and encourages you to analyse and discuss them.
  • Downloadable version of statistical tables and photocopiable worksheets on the Oxford Teachers' Club website


There are now many introductions to language research available. What makes Doing Second Language Research different and special is that it puts you inside the research process.

It does this by giving you different roles within a variety of mini-studies. This means you can get a feel for what it's like to be a research subject, research organizer, research data collector, research data analyst, and research reporter. All of this is meant to help you prepare for the final goal of designing your own research.

The book is organized into four parts:

- Part One is a general introduction to the nature of research.

- Part Two covers qualitative research and contains chapters on case study research, introspection research (use of verbal protocols), and classroom research (interaction analysis).

- Part Three covers quantitative research and contains chapters on descriptive statistics research (survey analysis), correlational research (into language learning and teaching attitudes), and quasi-experimental research (into vocabulary learning techniques).

- Part Four consists of a concluding chapter on course evaluation and combining research types.

Like other books in this series, Doing Second Language Research is designed to bridge the gap between theory and practice. To help achieve this balance, each chapter is organized into the following sections:

1. Introducing the research type
2. Experiencing the research type
3. Compiling the data generated by the research type
4. Analysing the data generated by the research type
5. Designing the research type
6. Interpreting the research type
7. Significance of the research type
8. Reflecting on the research experience

Two of the chapters (2 and 8) also have sections on reporting research results.

There is a content summary at the end of each chapter, numerous exercises with an accompanying answer key, and a glossary of key terms.



PART ONE: Introduction

1 The nature of research 3
Introducing research 3
Experiencing research 3
Compiling research data 6
Analyzing research data 6
Designing research 10
Interpreting definitions of research 15
The significance of defining research 16
Reflecting on research definitions 17

PART TWO: Qualitative research

2 Case study research: developmental research 21
Introducing case study research 21
Experiencing case study research 22
Compiling case study data 27
Analyzing case study data 30
Reporting your results 32
Designing case study research 36
Interpreting case study research 43
Significance of case study research 47
Reflecting on case study research 49
Summary 51

3 Introspection research: verbal protocols 53
Introducing introspective research 53
Experiencing introspective research 57
Compiling introspective data 61
Analyzing introspective data 63
Designing your own introspective research study 69
Interpreting introspective research 71
Significance of introspection as a scholarly focus 74
Reflecting on introspective research 75
Summary 78

4 Classroom research: interaction analysis 79
Introducing classroom research 79
Experiencing classroom research 80
Compiling classroom research data 87
Analyzing classroom interaction data 90
Designing your own classroom research 94
Interpreting classroom research 101
Significance of classroom research 105
Reflecting on classroom research 110
Summary 112

PART THREE: Quantitative research

5 Descriptive statistics research: survey analysis 117
Introducing descriptive statistics research 117
Experiencing descriptive statistics research 118
Compiling descriptive data 122
Analyzing descriptive data 122
Designing your own descriptive research 142
Interpreting descriptive research 147
Significance of descriptive research on teacher beliefs 151
Reflecting on descriptive research 154
Summary 156

6 Correlational research: language learning/teaching attitudes 157
Introducing correlational research 157
Experiencing correlational research 159
Compiling correlational data 162
Analyzing correlational data 166
Designing your own correlational research 180
Interpreting correlational research 184
Significance of correlational research comparing students and teachers attitudes 191
Reflecting on correlational research 192
Summary 193

7 Quasi-experimental research: vocabulary learning techniques 195
Introducing experimental research 195
Experiencing experimental research 195
Compiling experimental data 201
Analyzing experimental data 201
Designing your own experimental studies 211
Interpreting experimental studies 219
Significance of experimental research in teaching vocabulary 222
Reflecting on experimental research 223
Summary 224

PART FOUR: Conclusion

8 Course evaluation: combining research types 227
Introducing evaluation research 227
Experiencing evaluation research 228
Compiling evaluation data 233
Analyzing evaluation data 233
Reporting evaluation results 238
Designing your own evaluation studies 241
Interpreting evaluation studies 245
Significance of evaluation studies 247
Reflecting on evaluation research 250
Summary 256

Answer keys 257

Chapter 2 257
Chapter 6 258
Chapter 7 260

Appendices 264

Chapter 3 264
Chapter 4 271
Chapter 7 278
Chapter 8 280

Glossary 287

Bibliography 295

Index 309