Second Language Research Methodology and design Mackey &Gass .2005 Isabel Matos
7.1 Classroom Reseach Context Laboratory Classroom SL Control Studies must be Learners carried out in different context – a range of different Abstract approaches must - control be used Setting
7.2 Common techniques for datacollection in classroom research Classroom Observation Allows the study of a behavior at close range Useful mean for gathering information Events in the SL and FL classroom can be studied
Conducting Classroom observation Obstrusive Observers • The presence of the observer may be problematic for the instructor andstudents The Hawthorne Effect • When the observer is present, the productivity of the observed improves Objectivity and Subjectivity • It is necessary to aimto be objective and to recognize the subjective elements in the research
Permission to Observe• This is a professional courtesy and it would lessen the impact of the observation on the lessonDebriefing the instructor• Debrief the instructor about the research findings or the content of the observation.Expressing appreciation• It is always important to foster a good relation between instructors and future researchers
Observation Procedures andCoding SchemesConsider the goals of the rearch and the observationPrevent duplication of effort by adapting existing codes or schemesExisting schemes vary in complexity and organizationA number of chemes has already been developed: Allen, Fröhlich, & Spada (1984) Fanselow (1977) Nunan (1989) Ullman & Geva (1983)
Description of observation Schemes Description of Observation Schemes In most observation schemes the observer marks the frequency of an event, e.g questions, drills, explanation of grammar points; other schemes have low-inference and High inference categories. High inference categories require judgement, such as in relation to the function or meaning of the observed event.
Classroom Observation Tally Sheet From Nunan (1989) Tallies Total1. Teacher ask a display question / //2. Teacher ask referential question / // /3. Teacher explains a grammatical poiny4. Teacher explains a meaningful vocabulary item5. Teacher explains functional point6. Teacher explains point related to the content of the lesson /7. Teacher gives instructions/directions / ////8. Teacher praises /9. Teacher criticises10. Learner ask a question / //11. Learner answer a question / ///12. Learner talks to another learner13. Period of silence or confusion
The TALOS observation Scheme Low inference Drill Explain Use L1 / L2 (teacher) To whom (peer/teacher) Use L1/L2 (student) High inference X low low fair high X high Clarity (teacher) Comprehension (student) Depth (program) Listening/speaking/reading skills
Using or Modifying ExistingObservation Schemes Relative ease of use compared with nonsystematic classroom description. Comparability with other studies Simplified analysis of data Possibility of measuring change over different time periods More realiable focus on facets related to the research problem Different classroom contexts can be compared
Caveats to using or ModifyingExisting Observation Schemes Determine if the scheme is appropiate for the research goals. To be valid the finding must be the result of appropiate and applicable schemes With most coding schemes only one rater observes the data. Predetermined categories limit and restrict the observer’s perceptions, important patterns could be missed.
Introspective Methods Uptake sheets: reports of “whatever it is learners get from all the language learning opportunities” (Allwright, 1987) Stimulated recall: the observer makes an audio or video recording and plays it to the participant, stopping to ask what they think in a particular point. Diary research: first person account of a language learning or teaching experience.
Practical considerations inclassroom Research Recording • Microphone the lesson • Cameras Logistical Whose • Kind of voices Issues microphone Amount • Equipment of intrusion • Operators
Informer consentInstructional Debriefing setting Participants Problematics Data Confidentiality segmentation
Purposes and types of ResearchConducted in Classroom Setting Traditional classroom-based research Descriptive Experimental Action Research Amode of inquiry undertaken by teachers that is more oriented to instructor and learner development than to theory building
Action Research in Practice1. Identify the problem.2. Preliminary investigation. Much action3. Create database (other sources). research is not intended to be4. Form hypothesis. generalized. It is5. Devise intervention. situated, or context6. Evaluate the effect of it. dependent. Not all action researchers agree on a process for doing action research.
Concerns in action research Many types of action research do not use control groups. It is often easy to lose sight of concerns with validity or reliability. Potential conflicts that arise when the intuitions of teachers run counter to empirical findings about SL learning. “If action research is intended to “Essentially, it may not always be inform a wide research community, appropiate to hold action it will need to meet the basic research to the same standards as standards for publication and more established research” presentation”
Conclusions “Second language learning theory is unlikely to be fully developed without some understanding of how languages are learned in the classroom and, consequently, how they may be ore effectively taught”. “SL classroom research allows researchers and teachers to better understand the multitude of factors involved in instruction and learning in different context”.