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Hatch, Evelyn and Lazaraton, Anne. (1994), The research manual: Design and statistics for applied linguistics. University of California, Los Angeles

Research is a systematic approach to searching for answers to questions (9).

The first rule of research should be that the questions are our own, questions that we truly want to investigate.

Another source of research questions can be in the journals of our field. The areas include classroom research, skill based research, learner characteristics, teacher characteristics, language analysis, language use outside classroom, interlanguage analysis, language policy/planning, testing and evaluation, and theory testing. (10-11)


One of the best ways to begin to define what interest you and your thoughts about what you already know is with a research journal. Each time you think of a question for which there seems to be no ready answer, write the question down.(11)

Practice 1 (12)

1)   Compare the research interests of the group member. Report on range of interest……….

2)   Select two articles from recent journals related to the field applied linguistics. Attempt to fit each article into one of these board categories …

3)   List what special characteristics you would look for in selecting your own ‘critical friends’


Scope of Research

Aside from personal interest, research questions need to be able to generate new information or confirm old information in new ways. To be sure that this is a case, a review of the literature on the research topic must be done.


Practice 2

Investigate how well second language learners perform speech acts: too broad

Narrowing to:

Investigate Korean ESL students’ ability to recognize complaint behavior appropriate in an academic setting.

1)   Write a research question that narrows the scope for the study of speech acts in a different way

Investigate Indonesian EFL ability to recognize like and dislike attitude appropriate in an academic setting


2)   Acquisition: the process of getting an ability to one language

3)   Transfer : train other to a certain ability

Feasibility of research

Research questions should:

1)   Interest us

2)   Promise new information or confirm old information in new ways

3)   Have reasonable scope

4)   Have key terms that are clearly defined and operationalized

Longitudinal studies: follow individual or group over a period of time

Cross-sectional approach: data are gathered (usually only once) from different groups of learners of different ages or different levels of proficiency.


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