A prototypical research study

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A prototypical research study

Postby Richard » 11 Jan 2016 08:05

If you were asked to choose one article as a model of applied linguistics research, which article would you choose? What is it that makes that article a model article?
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Re: A prototypical research study

Postby Sayamol » 14 Jan 2016 14:25

I would choose the article of which methodology is clear, systematic and in line with the research questions. All parts of the article should be coherent and correspond with the purpose of the study.
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Re: A prototypical research study

Postby naratip » 15 Jan 2016 17:59

I would choose the one written by Janina Brutt-Griffler and Keiko Samimy (TESOL Quarterly Vol.22 No. 3), "Revisiting the Colonial in the Postcolonial: Critical Praxis for Nonnative-English-Speaking Teachers in a TESOL Program".

The authors conducted a ten-week seminar for non-native English speaking teachers which addressed specifically the issues related to native vs non-native ELT professionals. It consisted of three main activities, that is, classroom dialogic, letter dialogic and professional autobiography.

This study is a vivid example of research in applied linguistics as the whole project involves solving some language-related problem and addressing some language-related concern.

The following reasons explain why this article serves as a good applied linguistics research:

Concerning rationale, this study (though published more than a decade ago) brought into focus several contemporary issues in applied linguistics and teacher education (e.g. professional development and paradigm shift) which have been hotly debated until recently. The study, to me, did a very good job in explaining the purpose of a project and providing a compelling rationale. Theories were also very well communicated.

Concerning methodology, this study employed various approaches to data collection which, I believe, is a good example of well-designed research in applied linguistics.

Concerning findings and discussion, this study engaged readers in thinking critically about applied linguistic issues based upon an evidence-based interpretation of findings. The statements made by the authors have greatly contributed to knowledge in the field.

Concerning implication, this study yielded several pedagogic implications for language teachers and applied linguists. It provides readers ideas about how to locate aspects of TESOL within a broader, critical view of socio-political relation.
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Re: A prototypical research study

Postby sgtowns » 19 Jan 2016 16:35

I was initially going to write a post about how it is impossible to choose one paper as being a prototypical Applied Linguistics paper. The field is just too broad and too ill-defined. I was going to argue that it is more appropriate to chose a "prototypical Coh-Metrix paper" or a "prototypical lexical cohesion paper". (Just to give some examples from the literature review of my own research.)

But now that I have thought about it some more, I am going to say that the article chosen by Naratip above is a great choice. Not only does it fit into the original definition of Applied Linguistics as an attempt to scientifically improve the state of foreign language teaching, it also fits into the more modern meaning of Applied Linguistics which includes critical theory and the role of language in solving societal problems.

So since I realize that this paper could be the prototypical Applied Research paper just as a robin could be a prototypical bird, I will now get back to work on my penguin-esque research.
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Re: A prototypical research study

Postby stevelouw » 21 Jan 2016 19:26

Like Stuart, I was going to break down my response into categories. My first thought was whether there should be separation based on methodology: a prototypical qualitative paper in AL, and then a prototypical piece of quantitative research. There seems to be some divide over this, and choosing one or the other would imply a bias for one over the other, when in fact both QUAL and QUANT have their uses. And then, like Stuart, I wondered whether the prototypical paper would come from corpus, pragmatics, discourse, or any one of the other sub-categories of the somewhat disparate bunch of foci that interest applied linguistics researchers. And then, of course, there would be the fact that whatever I chose was going to be restricted to whatever research I have actually exposed myself to, which is far from a random or representative sample.

Nevertheless, after some rather extended period of prevarication and contemplation of what I have read, I would say I've been most impressed by a paper by Clark and Wasow (1998), who investigated in incredible depth the nature of repetition in spoken discourse. The paper is not from a journal of applied linguistics, but from Cognitive Psychology, which may knock it out of consideration. However, their paper's focus on spoken disfluency is clearly one that is related to applied linguistics, and their research has implications on the analysis of spoken text (the data from my own research, for example). They use a corpus of spoken discourse, and analyse it quantitatively, but the details of their findings are only evident through qualitative inspection. This paper took me nearly a week to read because it's so detailed and thorough, and perhaps it is these aspects of it that make it a (rather epic) model of research in applied linguistics.

Clark, H. H., & Wasow, T. (1998). Repeating words in spontaneous speech. Cognitive psychology, 37(3), 201-242.
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Re: A prototypical research study

Postby Richard » 22 Jan 2016 08:34

Both Steve and Stuart's initial reactions that it's impossible to identify a prototypical article for applied linguistics suggest that there is some truth to the arguments made by Guy Cook (Cook, G. 2015, Birds out of dinosaurs, Applied Linguistics vol. 36 no. 4) that applied linguistics is becoming a fragmented discipline. The two articles suggested so far have little in common: their topics are very different, their underpinnings are different (one is a detailed analysis of a specific linguistic feature in discourse; the other looks at people's beliefs and their political implications), and their approaches to analysis (primarily quantitative v. purely qualitative) differ. With such differences, how can they both fall into the same discipline? is there anything that provides a common core that characterises applied linguistics research?
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Re: A prototypical research study

Postby harris Lin » 25 Jan 2016 23:53

Professor Richard, I think it is quite challenging to find a common core characterising applied linguistic research, as it is hard to define applied linguistics. As we know, Applied linguistics is involved with more than one discipline. Anthropology, educational research, psychology, sociology, media studies also address applied linguistic issues. The result is that a wide range of themes are produced in applied linguistic research.
harris Lin
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Re: A prototypical research study

Postby Woravut » 26 Jan 2016 10:24

While it is challenging to find a prototypical research study of applied linguistics research as there are multiple (or perhaps related) branches under the discipline, I think it is possible to find some genetically shared traits of applied linguistics research.

Such commom traits can be used to identify a model of applied linguistics research.
A few questions follow. What are such traits? Are they always evolving?
and I have no idea how to identify the traits.
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Re: A prototypical research study

Postby angvarrah » 29 Jan 2016 09:26

I think although choosing one article as a model of applied linguistics research seems a difficult thing to do, it can be possible as long as we can identify the agreeable core characteristics of a model article. First, we need to set criteria for deciding. The criteria could include such as nature of the research, goal and purpose of the study, data, and methods of analysis. What do you think?
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