The Think-Aloud Controversy in Second Language Research
Routledge – 2010 – 172 pages
The Think-Aloud Controversy in Second Language Research aims to answer key questions about the validity and uses of think-alouds, verbal reports completed by research participants while they perform a task. It offers an overview of how think-alouds have been used in language research and presents a quantitative meta-analysis of findings from studies involving verbal tasks and think-alouds. The book begins by presenting the theoretical background and empirical research that has examined the reactivity of think-alouds, then offers guidance regarding the practical issues of data collection and analysis, and concludes with implications for the use of think-alouds in language research. With its focus on a much-discussed and somewhat controversial data elicitation method in language research, this timely work is relevant to students and researchers from all theoretical perspectives who collect first or second language data. It serves as a valuable guide for any language researcher who is considering using think-alouds.
Chapter 1: The use of verbal reports in language research. Chapter 2: Controversy over the use of think-alouds. Chapter 3: Features that Make a Task Amenable to Think-Aloud: A Meta-analysis of Studies Investigating the Validity of Think-Alouds on Verbal Tasks. Chapter 4: Data Collection Considerations. Chapter 5: Data Analysis Considerations. Chapter 6: Conclusion. Appendix A: Studies Included in the Meta-Analysis. Appendix B: Summary of Unique Sample Studies.
Melissa A. Bowles is Assistant Professor of Spanish, Linguistics, and SLATE (Second Language Acquisition and Teacher Education) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her main research interests are instructed second/heritage language acquisition and research methods.