Second Language Research

Methodology and Design

By Alison Mackey, Alison Mackey, Susan M. Gass, Susan M. Gass

© 2005 – Routledge

424 pages

Purchasing Options:
Paperback: 9780805842494
pub: 2005-02-24
US Dollars$71.95
Hardback: 9780805856026
pub: 2005-02-24
US Dollars$155.00

Comp Exam Copy

About the Book

Specifically targeted towards the needs of a second language research audience, Second Language Research: Methodology and Design addresses basic issues related to research design, providing step-by-step instructions for how to carry out studies. This up-to-date text includes chapters that cover identifying research problems and questions; selecting elicitation measures; dealing with ethical issues related to data gathering; validity and reliability in research; research in second and foreign language classroom contexts; data description and coding; and data analysis. Also included is a chapter on the much needed and rarely addressed topic of writing up SLA research, giving concrete suggestions about preparing for publication. Principles of both qualitative and quantitative research are discussed in the context of design issues. Throughout the book, examples from applied linguistics, second language acquisition, and TESOL are provided. Helpful discussion and data-based skill-building exercises at the end of each chapter promote better understanding of the principles discussed. A glossary outlines the key terms in second language research. Second Language Research: Methodology and Design is an ideal textbook for introductory and advanced classes in second language research methods, as well as classes in related areas, for example, TESOL research methods.


"The book is intended to be used primarily as a textbook for introductory research methodology courses with graduate students as the main audience….it is useful as a resource book, as well, as for more experienced researchers who want to enhance the quality of their research methods and designs….many second language researchers are very pleased to see this volume and to realize that the quality of second language research methodology has reached this level and will continue to be refined further."

—Linguist List

"Overall, this book will be very useful for instructors of ESL…and second languages and for undergraduate and graduate students as well as for professors and researchers in these areas. It will certainly be of interest to an international audience. Mackey and Gass have done a remarkable job of clearly presenting a variety of research techniques and strategies, with an appropriate blend of theoretical foundations, critical analysis, and practical examples. This book will be valuable to anyone teaching courses in research, statistics, or language acquisition."


"Second Language Research: Methodology and Design offers a wealth of information and analysis to beginning L2 researchers that is presented in an accessible manner with numerous examples of instruments, forms, coding schemes, and other materials….the text reflects the ethical concerns raised in several contributions to this special issue through inclusion of classroom-based research, which is intended to provide knowledge pertaining to instructed SLA."

—The Modern Language Journal

"Alison Mackey and Susan Gass have produced a useful book for master's and doctoral students seeking an introduction to key issues in research design and methods in L2 education. The book will serve as a solid foundation for preparing proposals for thesis research as well as a guide to basic terms, expectations, and concepts for reading published empirical research….An exceptional feature of the book is the extent to which the authors draw on a wide range of published studies about L2 learning to exemplify specific aspects of research and design practices."

—The Canadian Moder Language Review

"This book will be an excellent choice for students in M.A. programs, as they learn to understand research and prepare to do their own studies. It is rich with examples from the published studies that students will be reading in the professional journals. Instructors in research methods courses will appreciate the numerous activities and questions that can be used or adapted for student assignments. More advanced students and researchers will appreciate the book as a review and a source of straightforward definitions and examples."

—Patsy M. Lightbown

Distinguished Professor Emeritus Concordia University, Montreal

"Research is a matter of commonsense and convention. This book does an excellent job in demonstrating both of these. It provides a very readable, practical account of the principles and procedures of quantitative and qualitative research, drawing skillfully on published research into second language learning and use. It will be an invaluable resource for novice L2 researchers and a useful reference for the more experienced L2 researcher."

—Rod Ellis

University of Auckland

"With regard to…ethical issues, I can only speak in superlatives: this is a relatively new theme in research methodology that is becoming increasingly important and relevant to all of us, and I simply cannot recall any other L2 resource book that has dealt with it adequately."

—Zoltan Dornyei

University of Nottingham

"Second Language Research is a welcome addition, and students will learn to read research and to write their own research reports more intelligently with this volume." - Modern Language Reviews

Table of Contents

Contents: Preface. Introduction to Research. Issues Related to Data Gathering. Common Data Collection Measures. Research Variables, Validity, and Reliability. Designing a Quantitative Study. Qualitative Research. Classroom Research. Coding. Analyzing Quantitative Data. Concluding and Reporting Research. Appendices.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
EDUCATION / Bilingual Education
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / General