"Exploring processes and outcomes in task-based research: The use of mixed methods approaches"
Institute of Education, University of London
In the past twenty years, the field of instructed second language (L2) acquisition has seen an increasing interest in the construct of task as a pedagogical tool for promoting L2 learning. Much of the empirical research has been inspired by cognitive-interactionist models for task-based language learning (Skehan, 1998, 2009; Robinson, 2001, 2011). The primary concern of such frameworks is to explain how cognitive task demands can affect L2 processes and outcomes, with the ultimate goal of informing task-based syllabus design. So far, however, empirical research investigating task-based models has mainly been concerned with exploring the relationship between task features and linguistic outcomes. Little research exists that has attempted to examine the processes that tasks may generate, and how suchprocesses might relate to the outcomes of task-based performance and learning. In this talk, drawing on my own and others’ work, I will discuss and demonstrate how adopting mixed methods approaches may help explore links between taskprocesses and products. I will argue that the integration of quantitative and qualitative measures enablesresearchers to arrive at more valid conclusions about cognitive-interactionist models of task-based language teaching and more sound implications for L2 teaching.
Dr. Andrea Révész is a Lecturer in Languages in Education at the Institute of Education, University of London. Her main research interests lie in the interface of second language acquisition and second language instruction, with particular emphasis on task-based language teaching and the roles of input, interaction, and individual differences in SLA. Her work has appeared in journals such as Language Learning, The Modern Language Journal, and Studies in Second Language Acquisition. She has also contributed to recent edited collections with chapters addressing issues on second language pedagogy, SLA, and applied linguistics research methods.
"Questions about mixed methods research in SLA"
ICREA, Universitat de LLeida
The term mixed methods is a recent one. Definitions, language, nomenclature, and typologies of mixed methods designs remain varied, although it is commonly considered that studies of this type must combine qualitative and quantitative research in viewpoints, data collection and analysis, and inferences (Happ, 2009; Johnson, Onwuegbuzie, & Turner, 2007). The evolving of mixed methods could be construed as constituting a “third methodological movement,” following quantitative and qualitative approaches (Teddlie & Tashakkori, 2003), that is composed of distinctive mixing of practices from these other methodologies (Greene, 2008). (Evans, Coon & Ume, 2011: 276)
In this paper I take what Evans et al. have to say about mixed methods research as thestarting point for a criticalreflection onhow this approach might be adopted in SLA research. I organize this critical reflection around a list of very different, though inter-linked issues, which may be converted into questions about SLA research as follows:
Are quantitativeand qualitative data analyses truly integrated or are they kept independent and separate?
Is such research always either quantitative-dominant or qualitative-dominant, and never a 50-50 affair?
Is there an element of philosophical incommensurability which cannot be overcome in attempts to combine quantitative and qualitative research?
Is such research based a clear underlyingphilosophy (positivist? hermeneutic? pragmatic? critical realist?) or are researchers even aware of such matters?
Does the concept of mixed methods reflect over-dichotomous thinking and would it be better to talk about ‘multi-method’ research?
In the end, does mixed methods research really exist or are we just talking about research, full stop, in which certain questions lead to certain methods and some questions just happen to lead to quantification other questions lead to qualification?
These and other issue/questions will be taken on in this paper.
David Block is ICREA (Institució Catalana de Recerca i Estudis Avançats) Research Professor in Sociolinguistics in the Departament d'Anglès i Lingüística, Universitat de Lleida. Over the past 25 years, he has published articles and chapters on a variety of applied linguistics topics, including SLA, globalization, multilingualism and identity. Books related to these topics include Globalization and Language Teaching (co-edited with Deborah Cameron, Routledge, 2002); The Social Turn in Second Language Acquisition(Edinburgh University Press, 2003); Multilingual Identities in a Global City: London Stories (Palgrave, 2006); and Second Language Identities (Continuum, 2007). In recent years, he has published several works which take a political economy perspective on applied linguistics and which critique neoliberalism as the dominant ideology of our times, including Neoliberalism and Applied Linguistics (co-authored with John Gray and Marnie Holborow, Routledge, 2012) and the soon-to-appear Social Class in Applied Linguistics(Routledge, 2014). He is also editor of the new Routledge book series Political Economy in Applied Linguistics
"Usage-based linguistics and second language acquisition: A fruitful paradigm for mixed-methods research?"
University of Southern Denmark
The theoretical framework of usage-based linguistics (UBL) is a relatively newcomer to the field of second language acquisition, as shown by recent publications in this area (e.g., Robinson & Ellis, 2008; Ellis & Cadierno, 2009; Collins & Ellis, 2009) and the celebration of international conferences dedicated to this theme (e.g., Thinking, doing and learning: Usage based perspectives on second language learning, University of Southern Denmark, April 2013, and the upcoming GURT 2014 conference on Usage-based Approaches to Language, Language Learning, and Multilingualism).
In this presentation I will first provide a brief outline of the main tenets of this theoretical framework and I will argue that UBL constitutes a fruitful paradigm for conducting mixed-method L2 research in the area of second language acquisition, both at the level of method-mixing within individual studies and method-mixing across series of related studies, i.e., within a program of inquiry(cf., Tashhakkori& Creswell, 2007; Johnson et al., 2007). In the second part of the lecture I will review several UBL-inspired investigations that have examined the process of second language acquisition by means of a mixed-method approach. Examples include longitudinal studies involving UBL-inspired quantitative analyses and CA-based qualitative analyses;cross-sectional studies involving experimental research and corpus linguistics; and cross-sectional related studies involving the collection of data from more than one modality and the performance of various types of data analyses. As implied by these examples, a mixed-method approach is here understood in a broad sense, covering studies that combine qualitative and quantitative methodologies ( i.e., mixed-method approach in the narrow sense), and studies that involve within research-paradigm mixing(i.e., multi-method research as defined by e.g., Hunter & Brewer, 2003; Morse, 2003).
Teresa Cadierno is Professor of Second Language Acquisition and Director of the Second Language Research Center (SELC) at the University of Southern Denmark. Her main research areas are instructed second language acquisition and foreign language pedagogy, with special focus on the acquisition of grammar by adult L2 learners, L2 input processing and the role of formal instruction in adult L2 acquisition; and the investigation of second language acquisition from the theoretical perspective of usage-based / cognitive linguistics, with special focus on investigating L2 learning as the process of learning to re-think for speaking, and the process of constructing an L2 system. Her work has appeared in journals such as Applied Linguistics, Second Language Acquisition and The Modern Language Journal. In recent years she has published several articles and book chapters on the topic of usage-based SLA, such as her co-edited special section of the journal of Annual Review of Cognitive Linguistics on “Constructing a second language” (with N. C. Ellis, 2009) and her co-edited volume on Linguistic relativity in SLA: Thinking for speaking (with Z-H. Han, 2010).In 1996 she received the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages - Modern Language Journal (ACTFL - MLJ) Paul Pimsleur Award for Research in Foreign Language Education. Currently she is the leader of the Velux Fond-financed project on Usage-Based Second Language Acquisition, and she is a member of the Marie Curie Multi-Partner ITN project on Language and perception (LanPercept).