An article about research

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An article about research

Postby Richard » 14 Jan 2019 13:08

Let's suppose you've been asked to run a 1-day workshop introducing applied linguistics research to some novice researchers. The workshop organisers would like you to structure the workshop around a single research article as an exemplar of applied linguistics research. Which article would you choose to form the basis of your workshop?
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Re: An article about research

Postby stevelouw » 16 Jan 2019 13:50

I think I'd cheat and use my own article from Applied Linguistics. Am I allowed to do that? It would be a cheat because I know it and so can be fairly confident with talking about it, and knowing me I'd get nervous in front of strangers and mess it up if I chose a tough article about pragmatics. Cheat as it is, though, it does serve as a good exemplar of the field in some ways. From a methodological perspective, it uses both quantitative and qualitative approaches, it includes something from the field of corpus, and it also has a fluffy bit of discourse analysis in the form of dialogicity. Thematically it's touches on language teaching (and learning at a stretch), it also talks about how language informs how we understand ourselves and others. So there are a few differently elements from the field that the paper covers. It's also in the journal called Applied Linguistics which is a cool added touch, though it would have been even more awesome for the purposes of the workshop if it were in a journal called 'applied linguistics research'. The only problem with doing this is that the workshop attendees will think I'm a pompous idiot, making everyone read and discuss my own work as an exemplar!
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Re: An article about research

Postby sgtowns » 16 Jan 2019 15:57

It seems to me that Applied Linguistics is a VERY broad field that has changed a lot over the years. Therefore, it is a very difficult task to choose just one paper not written by Dr. Stephen Louw to represent the entire field. I couldn't think of a paper off the top of my head, so I just put in a bunch of random AL keywords into Google Scholar. Luckily, I felt that one of the top results was a decent "exemplar" for an AL paper. It was:

Anton, M. (1999). The discourse of a Learner‐Centered classroom: Sociocultural perspectives on Teacher‐Learner interaction in the Second‐Language classroom. The Modern Language Journal, 83(3), 303-318.

You can probably guess what keywords I used just by looking at the title of the paper. Here is the abstract:

This study investigates learner-centered and teacher-centered discourse in interactive exchanges between teachers and learners in the second language (L2) classroom. The analysis of interaction shows that learner-centered discourse provides opportunities for negotiation (of form, content, and classroom rules of behavior), which creates an environment favorable to L2 learning. In contrast, teacher-centered discourse is shown to provide rare opportunities for negotiation. Placing the analysis within the context of the role of discourse in the mediation of cognitive development, a central point in sociocultural theory, this study demonstrates that when learners are engaged in negotiation, language is used to serve the functions of scaffolding (Wood, Bruner, & Ross, 1976) and to provide effective assistance as learners progress in the zone of proximal development (Vygotsky, 1978). The analysis presented here attempts to show how various communicative moves and linguistic forms are deployed to achieve these functions.

There are a lot of AL terms/theories in this short abstract: classroom discourse, L2 learners, cognitive development, sociocultural theory, scaffolding, Vygotsky's ZPD, communicative moves, linguistic forms, and communicative functions. Other ideas/theories in the article include feedback, learning preferences and strategies, and feedback. This 20 year old article touches on a lot of ideas that build the foundation of a lot of research since then, so I feel that it would be appropriate to share with novice researchers as an introduction to Applied Linguistics.
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Re: An article about research

Postby daronloo » 17 Jan 2019 20:18

Steve decided on an article he was familiar with, while Stuart made a choice based on random (but relevant) keywords and top search results. I, wanting to maintain the variety in decision-making, opted for a recent article which I read on the plane yesterday.

The article, "Navigating morality in neoliberal spaces of English language education", written by Gordon Blaine West, published in 2019 in Linguistics and Education, is a research paper suitable for novice researchers in the area of applied linguistics. There are several reasons for this.

First, the article uses a qualitative paradigm (narrative inquiry) - a research approach which is becoming prevalent in the area of applied linguistics. When examined further, West did a thorough job in elaborating the research process. This is a feature that is crucial for those intending to carry out qualitative studies.

Second, the paper touches upon a topic that is 'trending' in applied linguistics (neoliberalism, morality in language education, gender and race in language education). Not only is the topic social, it is also critical, and examines issues that are fundamental and current to English language education, as well as language and society.

Finally, there is also potential for the paper to be linked with other related studies (cf. Stainton, 2018, in the area of tourism). This is valuable as it positions applied linguistics as a field that is interdisciplinary.

Stainton, H. (2018). The commodification of English language teaching in tourism: A sustainable solution?. Tourism management perspectives, 25, 123-130.

West, G. B. (2019). Navigating morality in neoliberal spaces of English language education. Linguistics and Education, 49, 31-40.
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Re: An article about research

Postby punjaporn » 21 Jan 2019 15:56

I would begin with a bibliographic study of applied linguistics. So, I searched google scholar for recently published bibliographic studies using “bibliographic +”applied linguistics” as my search terms.

The most recent one that looks interesting to me is “Research Trends in Applied Linguistics from 2005 to 2016: A Bibliometric Analysis and Its Implications” (Lei and Liu, 2018).

The paper gathered information from key published papers and reported “most frequently discussed topics”, “highly cited publications” and absolutely the research trends in our field. Then, I would make use of some of the papers cited in this bibliographic study to introduce more specific or specialised issues.

Steve, Stuart, and Daron have suggested interesting strategies to choose the paper. Hopefully, this is another possible option which also “maintain(s) the variety in decision-making” as Daron suggested.

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Re: An article about research

Postby Richard » 24 Jan 2019 08:45

The basis for choosing an article in the responses is interesting. Steve draws on the familiar, Stuart and Aum conduct searches, and Daron allows serendipity (something he happened to be reading fit the requirements) to play a role. These are all reasonable rationales and provide useful articles for a workshop.

Personally, however, I would set multiple ideal criteria and see if I can think of an article that fits them. As the basis for a research methodology workshop, my ideal article would be:
1. Interesting. I know this is subjective, but an article that presents results that provide new insights for novice researchers is likely to be of interest.
2. Comprehensible. The article shouldn't be too technical with lots of specialised terms, and ideally would be a smooth easy read.
3. Structured. The article should follow the overall pattern of lit review - methodology- findings - discussion, but I would prefer something that doesn't follow an ultra-conservative template.
4. Combine quantitative and qualitative. This would allow me to cover both aspects in the workshop.
5. Applicable. The findings should be something that workshop participants can easily see applications for in their own contexts.

An article that seem to be a reasonably good fit for these criteria is Hyland's article on Stance and engagement (available at ... hyland.pdf). I'm sure there are others, but I can't think of any off the top of my head.
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Re: An article about research

Postby Woravut » 12 Feb 2019 08:01

Aj. Richard has been attempting to promote establishing some principles in making a decision whehter for work or for reseach. I think it is a very useful idea. My question however is

how we can come up with ideal or well justified principles.

Also what is a principle of using principles in guiding a decision making?
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