Using different research paradigms

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Using different research paradigms

Postby Richard » 05 Feb 2020 08:11

Let's suppose you're running an innovative English language course based on principles derived from English as a Lingua Franca. The course does not explicitly teach traditional language features; rather the focus is on encouraging the students to effectively use all of the resources available to them to understand and produce English. In other words, the course aims to teach students how to cope with communicating in English. All of the assessments are based and graded on intelligibility and comprehensibility of communication (rather than accuracy).

You wish to conduct some research into this course. You have a choice of research paradigms:
Grounded theory
Introspective research
Corpus analysis
Critical discourse analysis
Conversation analysis

Choose one of these paradigms. How would this paradigm affect the focus of the research?
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Re: Using different research paradigms

Postby Tepsuriwong » 07 Feb 2020 10:39

An interesting situation!
I'm interested in an introspective study. I think this paradigm allows us to explore what the participants think and how they cope with their language use in the course ativities. For the study, we may ask them to do a retrospective recall of what and how they perform the class activities after each session. This could be done through a journal writing and a follow up interview. Any comments or further suggestions?
Thank you.
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Re: Using different research paradigms

Postby napak.cho » 07 Feb 2020 15:46

The paradigm that I would like to choose is ‘survey’ because is seems to be more practical in terms of time and energy than others. Selecting this paradigm would narrow down the focus of the study into only the opinions or perceptions of stakeholders to the courses.
Since this is an innovative course which might be the first time applying the principles of ELF into classroom teaching, the survey would be a good beginning. I may need to know more about the overall perceptions of the stakeholders related to the course, e.g. teacher and students. The obtained results could be useful for making policy decisions or course adjustments to meet the need of the stakeholders.
Moreover, the specific points related to different aspects of a course like teaching methods, materials, assessment can also be studied by using a survey. Although, the instruments used might restrict the responses, adding more opened-ended questions or conducting an interview might minimize this problem. To me, I think this paradigm is efficient to some extent.

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Re: Using different research paradigms

Postby stevelouw » 13 Feb 2020 07:14

A grounded theory approach would assume you are moving into the investigation without a pre-existing theoretical paradigm and want to extract something from the data inductively. So we might wish to find out how students are creating intelligibility and comprehensibility in their communication using their preexisting resources, or perhaps find out whether they are adequately able to 'let go' of accuracy in favour of 'effective use' (we may need to see what 'effective use' means to the students). We could collect data of students doing tasks, their written assignments, the way they interact with the teacher and so on. This will be a lot of qualitative data, and from it we may be able to piece together an idea of how students are approaching understanding and producing language and what resources they bring in to do so. By using a grounded theory approach, the data itself would guide our focus to the research, with our initial question guiding what it is we are looking for.

It strikes me that this is going to be a lot of work - particularly the transcriptions of the students interacting. I suppose I might hope someone will do some research on automatic transcriptions so I can save some time on this part of the study.
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Re: Using different research paradigms

Postby Jatopon P. » 14 Feb 2020 22:47

As the key assessment of the course focuses on intelligibility and comprehensibility for communicating in English following ELF principles, the potentiality of a shared understanding and reasoning of students in ELF communication may be taken into account. To explore potentiality of shareness and reasoning competence, I would go for Conversation Analysis paradigm. The data for the study can be naturally occurring conversation conducted between students-students, or students-teacher. Here, I may collect the data by using video recording. Observations and note taking may be the supplemented to gain more exact information and details. The anaysis should be run in an inductive manner and through transcription process using transcription symbols. What occurs in conversation such as pauses, hesitations, silence, relevant/irrelavant turn-design, conversational flow may suggest some salient clues on ELF proficiency and knowledge of students. Finally, some pedagogical implications can be raised on the findings, perhaps in the sense that intelligibility and comprehensibility can be advanced through conversational events.

Jatupon P.
Jatopon P.
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Re: Using different research paradigms

Postby donpar » 16 Feb 2020 20:55

When we look at students' interactions using their own linguistic resources, it is better to focus on patterns of translanguaging. Interactions in a naturalistic setting can be audio-recorded and transcribed for analysis. I am thinking of using GT as it allows several coding stages which later on could lead to a formulation of a theory. Direct assessment of intelligibility and comprehensibility, however, may come later as the first task should focus on establishment of translanguaging patterns.
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Re: Using different research paradigms

Postby Mitch » 17 Feb 2020 08:30

Conversation Analysis had been in my mind, but when I reviewed my notes, I had written a warning from Ajarn Richard that says, “This is a warning! Don’t DO a CA!”
I guess, since Introspection, Grounded Theory and Survey have been chosen and discussed, maybe Corpus Analysis would be a good option, too. Analyzing the amount of vocabulary used in the conversation and look at the frequency of words used in order for the students become successful in communicating English as Lingua France would be interesting. Then, I might do an in-depth analysis by comparing the results with the frequently used words in different contexts and situations. The tools that I might use are COCA and BNC.

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Re: Using different research paradigms

Postby ronnakritong » 17 Feb 2020 19:37

I went through the responses and found that most of the replies address the issues from students' perspectives which is very interesting. It was clearly specified that the course does not teach the traditional language features, indeed its focus is on facilitating the students to maximise the use of available resources to understand and produce English. This means, to me, the classes will no longer be dominated by the teachers' lectures as well as his one-size-fits-all instructions like what's taking place in a traditional language classroom. On that note, teachers' roles and power in classroom is, therefore, another important aspect to consider.

To do so, I believe CDA might be an ideal option. Using this approach, we will see the power relations manifested through language. We could include classroom observations and video record the classes for further in-depth analysis (e.g. the teacher's non-verbal language). To answer your question, utilising the paradigm will rather investigate the power relations in the classroom than measure the extent to which the students can master intelligibility and comprehensibility of communication.

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Re: Using different research paradigms

Postby sgtowns » 21 Feb 2020 14:28

Since everyone so far has chosen a different approach to take and all of the choices have been taken, I will propose a new approach. Assuming that the course includes assignments like creating videos, you could take a multimodal approach to see how the students use multiple modes (images, video, speech, gesture, text, etc.) to communicate. This could be combined with some kind of interview/introspection data to ask the students why they made certain video design decisions. For example, if they are not confident about speaking, maybe they rely more on gestures or action videos? Or the researcher could look at how the text on the screen relates to the speech and/or action in the video. Are the students able to communicate their confidence and content knowledge even though their language use might not be perfect? How do they communicate their "power" as "experts" in the field, even though they are not English language experts?

In other words, this is focusing on the "how to cope with communicating in English" part of Richard's initial question. What multimodal strategies are they using to communicate even though their command of the language is limited? The video is the product that can be analyzed multimodally and the interview can uncover data about the process.
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