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LG 524 QUALITATIVE RESEARCH METHODS For English Language Teaching and Applied Linguistics
Defining Research • Kinds of Research: • Market Research; Book Research (fact and fiction); Journalism Research; Solving a Crime; Business Research; Medical Research; Scientific Research; Private Detective; Family Research; Academic Research.
There are two senses of Research. • 1. To establish, publicize, or utilise something that is already known, but perhaps only to individuals, not widely or generally. • 2. Original knowledge that nobody has discovered before , that will have some practical use or application. • Originality An original method of collecting data. An original topic, an original way of analysis…. All three together would be unusual.
Fiction, Journalism, Police, Business and Medical Research. • a. Fiction: background, time, place, authenticity… • b. Journalism: Investigative, public interest, sex and the Queen etc etc…….theory first? • c. Police: starting with a theory and proving it….. • Business: what will sell, why will it sell, will there be profit or loss. Theory<>Research>>>Profit? • Medical: May be for altruistic reasons , the search for a cure for cancer, personal gain, or business profit in large drug companies. Where does the theory come? • Many people associate research with scientists in white coats, in laboratory with instruments, highly technical and complex.
Research in Language Teaching 1. • Many language teachers do research every day; a typical research model>>>>>(Action Research) Situation>Problem>Solution>Evaluation. S. Students are bored , inattentive, sleepy/ing)….. P. Teaching method is boring, always written textbook exercises. S. Use authentic materials, realia, dvd, music, different activities…… E. Students wake up , learning happens in the classroom. ** Lesson Planning: a kind of research; learning needs analysis>>teaching plan to meet needs>>assessment**
Research in Language Teaching 2. Academic Research in ELT and Applied Linguistics: Why? • To get an MA, M.Phil, M.Litt, PhD. Part of academic requirements for research to demonstrate critical, analytic, research skills in small or larger scale study. • To further knowledge in the area; for one’s career; to publish articles, books, to solve problems in the classroom.
Language Teacher Research 3. • Research is based on Data. • Data may come from questionnaires, surveys, observations, interviews, test results….what kind of data do you need to answer your research questions or hypotheses? • Research may be experimental using control groups to test a hypothesis or theory. Objective research. This tends to be Quantitative Research. Tends to use surveys, questionnaires. Statistical approach with yes/no, Likert Scales >>numerical analysis.
Qualitative Research • Non-statistical data, tends to use interviews, observations, materials content. • Looking for people’s opinions, thoughts, ideas, actions, visual events and materials, why they do things as well as what they do. • Data is ‘rich’ or ‘thick’ data, i.e. in depth, details, following up an idea as far as possible. • Analysis is categorising or coding the statements trying to find common themes and patterns in what people say, believe, or do.
Qualititavevs Quantitative….. • Quantitative starts with a theory (hypothesis/statement to be tested), collects data to prove or disprove the theory. The theory must be something that can be tested by research. A theory is a statement, or ‘if a then b’, something that may be proved or disproved. ** Qualitative starts with a question, ‘How/why does a do b?’ It cannot be answered simply by yes/no, but needs details to build a considered answer. ** The question should be one that may be usefully related to the language teaching classroom, specific.
The Big But……..? All language teaching research, whether quantitative or qualitative, should be able to answer the question ‘So What?’ i.e how is this research applicable in the language teaching classroom? Does it matter? Is this a question? Is it specific? It may be generalisable, but not too general.
Some examples of MA research topics….>>the PhD. • Perceptions of the native-Speaker teacher; how Japanese high school students see NS teachers. Issues for the ELT classroom in Japan. • Analysis of students’ cultural needs studying EL in the L1 and L2 situation, for Chinese high school students. • How is Discourse Analysis used in teaching speaking in Greece? • Error analysis; students understanding of teacher-corrections in class, young learners in Poland. • Materials evaluation: do speaking textbooks really teach students how to speak? 1st.year university students (non-English major) in South Korea.
Some PhD topics. • Discovering a method for Analysis and Development of Teachers’ Guides contribution to lesson content. • Discovering the nature of teachers’ beliefs and their relationship to classroom practice in a Syrian secodary school. • Changing sociocultural identity; Japanese Users of English and their pragmatic choices in English. • Learner cognition of EFL education and its influence of lecture listening abilities of Japanese postgraduates. • Listening comprehension problems and strategy use by EFL college students in Taiwan.
Choosing a TOPIC. • 1. Something that tweaked your interest, interested you, annoyed you, in the language classroom, something missing…something covered in a module that got you involved or interested or even excited..!.. • It should be something that YOU are interested in, and can work on for 5 months (or 4 years…) • It should be practical, with application to the language teaching classroom. • It should be generisable, but not too general.
SPECIFIC….NOT GENERAL • ‘Communicative Language Teaching in China’….. • ‘Teaching the four skills to young learners’…….. • ‘Evaluating Teachers’ Guides’…….. [the above topics will have your potential supervisor in tears ] • Problems in introducing CLT in a business English course for 1st. Year undergraduate in Shanghai Uni. • Using activity games to teach speaking to 7 year olds in a Private School in Turkey. • Evaluating in-house teachers’ guides for non-native speaker teachers for the TOEFL exam in South Korea. • >>Your supervisor will stop crying and smile <<<<<
Good Research ……. • Practical and applicable • A clear rationale or theory, purpose • Well planned, timed • Involving, active • Real world value Is not….. Because it’s easy and quick To get the MA/PhD…..