Finding a benchmark for Thai research

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Finding a benchmark for Thai research

Postby Richard » 06 Feb 2018 07:41

I'm just starting a research project with a few other people from several Thai universities where, as part of the project, we want to look at focuses of research in applied linguistics in Thailand. In other words, what are the areas of interest of applied linguistics researchers working in Thailand? We will identify these areas of interest from published research articles.

In order to give our analysis meaning, it would be useful if we could compare the areas of interest in Thailand with the areas of interest in at least one comparable country (at least to show that the areas of interest of different countries are different). What country/countries do you think we should use as the benchmark?
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Re: Finding a benchmark for Thai research

Postby Nathan » 06 Feb 2018 12:03

The first country that popped into my mind was Singapore. If you were to compare Thailand to the US or the UK, one could easily say, ‘Of course they’re different! They’re halfway around the world from each other!’ (among other things). Singapore is a nice bridge between the east and the west; it also makes sense geographically as it is just a couple hours away by plane (from Bangkok, a much shorter distance from the south of Thailand, obviously). Unfortunately, other nations in the region aren’t doing a whole lot (a controversial statement, I know, especially considering Thailand’s output on a global scale).

Another option could be China, where I’m currently based. The education system as a whole seems much closer aligned to Thailand than Thailand does to Singapore. This would make it more ‘comparable’ in terms of the types of institutions and possibly even the upbringing of many of the researchers themselves. Singapore’s education system wouldn’t be comparable in that regard. China’s output has increased dramatically in recent years, and it would be interesting to see the trends in their research compared to Thailand.

Depending on how big of a project this is, I’d be curious to see the areas of interest compared between Thailand, China (comparable in terms of the types of institutions and education system), Singapore (a bridge between the east and the west), and the US/UK (major producers of research worldwide).

I’m guessing you’re only looking at papers written in English? It would also be interesting to know if the areas of interest/trends are different between the papers written in L1 vs English by the same demographic.

Any other ideas for comparable countries?
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Re: Finding a benchmark for Thai research

Postby punjaporn » 07 Feb 2018 08:44

Should we look at countries where applied linguistics (AL) is well-established? I think of the countries which set up their own associations of AL, for example, France, Australia, Canada, Ireland, Japan, New Zealand, South Africa, and UK. Based on Nathan’s point, Japan would be more comparable to Thailand than the others.

So, what about comparing Thailand to Japan, and Thailand to UK as the countries which tend to have more similar and more different contexts?
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Re: Finding a benchmark for Thai research

Postby stevelouw » 17 Mar 2018 09:41

I agree with Punjaporn that Japan makes sense: both have relatively active ELT communities and a 'foreign language' air about them. They are not exactly comparable in demographics, perhaps, and are geographically distinct too, but I think the similarities in who English is used and the difficulties teachers have in engaging students in English learning seem to be quite similar. I'd say that for these reasons China would work too, but the sheer amount of research coming out of China (as compared with what is produced in Thailand) might complicate any analysis.

Singapore is also a good idea because of the bridge, as Nathan says, and because the ASEAN links between the two mean that there may be many similar interests and issues. Because English is much more widely spoken and used in different contexts there, though, the research foci may make the two countries less comparable.

How about the middle eastern countries like Iran or the Emirates? There seems to be quite a lot of research (of mixed quality) produced there, and although the demographic and linguistic profiles are very different from Thailand, the problems spurring research (and the publication of it in English) may create some parallels.
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