For English Language Teaching and Applied
Defining Research
 Kinds of Research:
 Market Research; Book Research (fact
and fiction); Journalism Research;
Solving a Crime; Business Research;
Medical Research; Scientific Research;
Private Detective; Family Research;
Academic Research.
There are two senses of Research.
 1. To establish, publicize, or utilise something that is
already known, but perhaps only to individuals, not
widely or generally.
 2. Original knowledge that nobody has discovered
before , that will have some practical use or
 Originality An original method of collecting data. An
original topic, an original way of analysis…. All three
together would be unusual.
Fiction, Journalism, Police,
Business and Medical Research.
 a. Fiction: background, time, place, authenticity…
 b. Journalism: Investigative, public interest, sex and the
Queen etc etc…….theory first?
c. Police: starting with a theory and proving it…..
Business: what will sell, why will it sell, will there be profit
or loss. Theory<>Research>>>Profit?
Medical: May be for altruistic reasons , the search for a cure
for cancer, personal gain, or business profit in large drug
companies. Where does the theory come?
Many people associate research with scientists in white
coats, in laboratory with instruments, highly technical and
Research in Language Teaching 1.
 Many language teachers do research every day; a typical
research model>>>>>(Action Research)
S. Students are bored , inattentive, sleepy/ing)…..
P. Teaching method is boring, always written textbook
S. Use authentic materials, realia, dvd, music, different
E. Students wake up , learning happens in the classroom.
** Lesson Planning: a kind of research; learning needs
analysis>>teaching plan to meet needs>>assessment**
Research in Language Teaching 2.
Academic Research in ELT and Applied Linguistics:
i) To get an MA, M.Phil, M.Litt, PhD. Part of academic
requirements for research to demonstrate critical,
analytic, research skills in small or larger scale study.
ii) To further knowledge in the area; for one’s career; to
publish articles, books, to solve problems in the
Language Teacher Research 3.
 Research is based on Data.
 Data may come from questionnaires, surveys,
observations, interviews, test results….what kind of
data do you need to answer your research questions or
 Research may be experimental using control groups to
test a hypothesis or theory. Objective research. This
tends to be Quantitative Research. Tends to use
surveys, questionnaires. Statistical approach with
yes/no, Likert Scales >>numerical analysis.
Qualitative Research
 Non-statistical data, tends to use interviews,
observations, materials content.
 Looking for people’s opinions, thoughts, ideas,
actions, visual events and materials, why they do
things as well as what they do.
 Data is ‘rich’ or ‘thick’ data, i.e. in depth, details,
following up an idea as far as possible.
 Analysis is categorising or coding the statements
trying to find common themes and patterns in what
people say, believe, or do.
Qualititave vs Quantitative…..
 Quantitative starts with a theory
(hypothesis/statement to be tested), collects data to
prove or disprove the theory.
The theory must be something that can be tested by
research. A theory is a statement, or ‘if a then b’,
something that may be proved or disproved.
** Qualitative starts with a question, ‘How/why does a
do b?’ It cannot be answered simply by yes/no, but
needs details to build a considered answer.
** The question should be one that may be usefully
related to the language teaching classroom, specific.
The Big But……..?
All language teaching research, whether quantitative or
qualitative, should be able to answer the question
‘So What?’
i.e how is this research applicable in the language
teaching classroom? Does it matter? Is this a question?
Is it specific? It may be generalisable, but not too
Some examples of MA research
topics….>>the PhD.
 Perceptions of the native-Speaker teacher; how Japanese
high school students see NS teachers. Issues for the ELT
classroom in Japan.
Analysis of students’ cultural needs studying EL in the L1
and L2 situation, for Chinese high school students.
How is Discourse Analysis used in teaching speaking in
Error analysis; students understanding of teachercorrections in class, young learners in Poland.
Materials evaluation: do speaking textbooks really teach
students how to speak? 1st.year university students (nonEnglish major) in South Korea.
Some PhD topics.
 Discovering a method for Analysis and Development
of Teachers’ Guides contribution to lesson content.
Discovering the nature of teachers’ beliefs and their
relationship to classroom practice in a Syrian secodary
Changing sociocultural identity; Japanese Users of
English and their pragmatic choices in English.
Learner cognition of EFL education and its influence
of lecture listening abilities of Japanese postgraduates.
Listening comprehension problems and strategy use
by EFL college students in Taiwan.
Choosing a TOPIC.
 1. Something that tweaked your interest, interested
you, annoyed you, in the language classroom,
something missing…something covered in a module
that got you involved or interested or even excited..!..
 It should be something that YOU are interested in,
and can work on for 5 months (or 4 years…)
 It should be practical, with application to the language
teaching classroom.
 It should be generisable, but not too general.
 ‘Communicative Language Teaching in China’…..
 ‘Teaching the four skills to young learners’……..
 ‘Evaluating Teachers’ Guides’……..
[the above topics will have your potential supervisor in tears
• Problems in introducing CLT in a business English course
for 1st. Year undergraduate in Shanghai Uni.
• Using activity games to teach speaking to 7 year olds in a
Private School in Turkey.
• Evaluating in-house teachers’ guides for non-native
speaker teachers for the TOEFL exam in South Korea.
• >>Your supervisor will stop crying and smile  <<<<<
Good Research …….
 Practical and applicable
 A clear rationale or theory, purpose
 Well planned, timed
 Involving, active
 Real world value
Is not…..
Because it’s easy and quick
To get the MA/PhD…..

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