Session 1 Getting started with classroom research DAVID NUNAN Aims of Session 1 1. gain an understanding of what we mean by ‘research’as well as as the key concepts reliability, validity, variable, and construct. 2. understand similarities and differences between the psychometric, naturalistic and hybrid traditions 3. discuss first steps in the research process Getting started In groups, complete the following statements: Research is……………………………………… Research is carried out in order to…………… What is research? 1. Questions, problem, hypothesis 2. Data, 3. Analysis / interpretation 4. Publication 5. Reliability 6. Validity the psychometric research tradition Aim: To test the strength of relationships between variables Research design: Experimental Type of data: Quantitative Type of analysis: Statistical “Questions in search of data.” Variables and data types Nominal Ordinal Interval Constructs A psychological construct is a theoretical label that is given to some human attribute or ability that cannot be seen or touched because it goes on in the brain. (Brown 1988: 103) Discussion: Which of these are variables? Which are constructs? proficiency attitude gender intelligence motivation attention deficit disorder native language aptitude puberty bilingualism the naturalistic research tradition Aim: To obtain insights into the complexities of teaching and learning through uncontrolled observation and description Research design: Non-experimental Type of data: Qualitative Type of analysis: Interpretive “Data in search of questions.” research questions 1. What are the classroom experiences of trainee teachers in inner-city classrooms? 2. Is a deductive approach to teaching grammar superior to an inductive approach? 3. What do learners believe about the nature of language and learning? 4. Do beginning learners of Spanish as a foreign language who have an initial period of intensive listening before speaking outperform those who are required to speak from the first lesson? 5. What happens when teachers increase ‘wait time’ (the time between asking a question and then either reformulating the question or answering it)? Combining traditions: quantitative collection / quantitative analysis Comparing statistical comparisons of learners’ test scores to see if there are any statistically significant differences between groups taught with different methods. Combining traditions: quantitative collection / qualitative analysis Categorizing language students as advanced, upperintermediate, intermediate, or lowerintermediate on the basis of learners’ test scores Combining traditions: qualitative collection / qualitative analysis Summarizing written field notes to yield prose profiles of various teachers’ teaching styles in an observational study Combining traditions: qualitative collection / quantitative analysis Tabulating the observed frequencies of certain errors in students’ writing samples Does anybody else have an answer to my question? How do I get started? What kinds of data will be relevant to my research interest and question? How will I gather those data? What techniques exist for analyzing my data? How can I make my research available to anyone else who might be interested? Getting started on classroom research: initial questions What aspects of classroom teaching and learning am I interested in, and what specifically is it about this issue that I really want to know? Research areas and topics: examples Teacher questions Direct instruction Error correction and feedback Classroom management Student interaction Task analysis Learning strategies The affective domain Phases in formulating a research plan Phase 1: Formulating the general research area or topic Phase 2: Turning the research area into a question paradigm plan Phase 3: Deciding on a research Phase 4: Developing a detailed Discussion The next step: secondary research What is a literature review? What is the purpose of doing a literature review? Discussion Reflect on your own classroom, or a classroom with which you are familiar. Come up with a research area that interest you and formulate it as a question.