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Brumfit & Mitchel (1990)

'The language classroom as a focus for research' Brumfit, C. & Mitchell, R. (pp.3-15)

• Language teaching research is inevitably interdisciplinary.

• Central to the educational process is the role of language.

• A balance between empirical research and interpretation of this research is needed.

• Competent research will involve:

1. Careful formulation of the questions to be investigated. To make sure that they
are not phrased in such a way as to confuse major issues with minor ones, or to
embrace many different questions within one vague, general topic which is
incapable of being investigated systematically.
2. Careful exploration of the best means of investigation for the particular question
being addressed.
3. Consideration of the major previous attempts to explore the same and closely
related questions, in order to borrow and adapt appropriate formulations of the
4. Explicit accounts of the process of question formulation, the criteria for selection
of the research techniques, and the reasons for the questions to be felt as
5. Full documentation of the procedures used, the means by which information has
been gathered, and the methods of interpretation and analysis which have been
6. Explicit acknowledgement of all previous work which has contributed to the
conceptualization, means of collection, and procedures for analysis of the data
7. Specific interpretation of the data collected, to assess its usefulness in relation to
the initial research questions.
8. Evaluation of the extend to which the project has achieved its aims, together with
an account of the ways in which the process of research has led to changes in
the initial formulation of questions.
9. A willingness to publicize the research, so that it can contribute to further
development by others to the exploration of the same ore related questions.

• It is important for research to be public and shared with others to make sure it is
contrasted and not subjective.

• It is also very important to state clearly why this research will be useful. Why we have
chosen this topic and not another. It must clearly have some useful poin to it.

• Action research is especially useful for teachers because it is especially useful for
understanding particular situations. It aims at education teachers on their processes of
teaching. The real point of action research is that it is closely tied to the particular
interests and needs of particular teachers.
• Quantitative and qualitative cannot really be opposed to to each other. Any measurement
must be clearly relevant to the question being asked.

• Techniques in the study of language classrooms include:

1. documentary analysis
2. recordings of lessons
3. diaries
4. lessons discussed retrospectively by teachers
5. semi-structured interviews
6. tests of language competence
7. questionnaires exploring attitudes or beliefs

'The teacher as researcher' Nunan, D. (pp.16-32)

• Educational research is different from many other areas of research because education is
essentially practical rather than a theoretical activity.

• Classroom research can provide a great deal of useful information about how classes are
taught. As opposed to ideas of how they should be taught or how people imagine they
are taught.

• There are different types of research methods employed in classroom research:

1. psychometric
- typical issues: language gain from different methods, materials and treatments.
- methods: experimental method, pre and post tests with experimental and
control groups)

2. interaction analysis
- typical issues: extend to which learner behaviour is a function of teacher
determined interaction
- methods: coding classroom interactions in terms of various observation
systems and schedules

3. discourse analysis
- typical issues: analysis of classroom discourse in linguistic terms
- methods: study classroom transcripts and assign utterances to predetermined

4. ethnographic
- typical issues: obtain insights into the classroom as a 'cultural' system
- methods: naturalistic 'uncontrolled' observation and description.

• In recent years there has been a change of attitude marked by a move

away from prescription, towards a view of the teacher as an
autonomously functioning individual.