Synthesizing Research on Language Learning and Teaching

John M. Norris | University of Hawai'i at Manoa
Lourdes Ortega | University of Hawai'i at Manoa
ISBN 9789027219657 | EUR 115.00 | USD 173.00
ISBN 9789027219664 | EUR 36.00 | USD 54.00
ISBN 9789027293671 | EUR 115.00/36.00*
| USD 173.00/54.00*
This volume presents the first collection of work on research synthesis in applied linguistics. It introduces readers­ ­to a cutting-edge approach for reviewing and summarizing exactly what accumulated research has to say about theoretical and practical subjects. John Norris and Lourdes Ortega first elucidate the value and practice of synthesis, and they challenge all members of the research community to adopt a “synthetic ethic”. The book then features seven empirical syntheses, each modeling rigorous synthetic practice in definitively reviewing the state of knowledge and research quality in important domains. Included are five meta-analyses on: Universal Grammar; Task-Based Interaction; Corrective Feedback; Instructed Pragmatics Development; and Reading Strategy Training. Also included are a qualitative meta-synthesis on Effective Teaching for English Language Learners, and a historiographical synthesis of Proficiency Assessment practices. Rounding out the collection are commentaries by two renowned experts in language learning and teaching research: Nick Ellis and Craig Chaudron.
[Language Learning & Language Teaching, 13]  2006.  xiv, 350 pp.
Publishing status: Available
Table of Contents
“The strengths of this volume are two-fold: First, it is clear from many of the chapters that a well-written meta-analysis can provide a state-of-the-art picture of a given area of research.[...] The second, and perhaps most important, strength of this volume is a methodological guide for conducting research syntheses and meta-analyses. The volume begins with a detailed discussion of the reasons and methods for doing such research, and throughout the chapters, there is considerable additional information. In fact, the empirical studies go to great lengths to document the procedures used in their analyses, and, indeed, such methodological transparency is an important component of synthetic research. Thus, anyone who is interested in conducting a meta-analysis will find this an invaluable volume, both as an instruction manual and as an example of the final product. In the first chapter, Norris and Ortega state that "this first generation of syntheses should probably set more modest goals of staking out the territory and raising awareness" (p.45). This volume clearly attains these goals and provides a firm foundation for future generations of synthetic research in our field.”
“The topic of research synthesis is presented in a balanced manner, as the authors also point to the limitations of this type of research. Overall, this book is important to anyone wanting to know the value and limitations of synthesizing research and to understand the variety of applications is suited to.”
“This extraordinary volume raises knowledge in applied linguistics to a new level. The contents provide grounded answers to empirical questions about second language learning and teaching while pinpointing questions for future research. The masterfully edited collection offers important substantive and methodological perspectives that are relevant for researchers in all facets of second language studies.”
“This book is a valuable addition to the applied linguistics literature. It does not only provide clear guidelines on how to conduct a meta-analysis and assumes no prior knowledge of this type of secondary research, but also presents a large number of successful models from a variety of disciplines within the field of applied linguistics.”
“The book is also a valuable resource to readers less interested in conducting this type of research for a number of reasons. Firstly, I agree with the opinion of the authors that a certain ethic around conducting and presenting primary research is necessary. For this, a raised awareness of how secondary research is conducted is invaluable. Some authors of primary research might not be aware of the importance of reporting e.g. effect sizes or reliability analyses. After reading this volume, the need for these becomes very clear. Secondly, the chapters in section two of the book are not only of interest and relevance to readers interested in the art of conducting research syntheses but are also of value to readers interested in the different topic areas covered. Each of these present current, state of the art research and therefore point to areas where more research is necessary.”
“Overall, the authors have managed to collate a very well-structured and readable volume on a topic important to further the discipline of applied linguistics.”
“Research synthesis presents a principled way to make systematic, comprehensive sense of the array of published (and unpublished) research on specific aspects of learning and teaching second languages. This volume leads the way for researchers, graduate students, and educators to understand this relatively new approach to establishing precisely what empirical research is, or is not, able to assert across a range of contexts and separate investigations. The book features key studies, useful reflections, and authoritative advice by researchers who have applied meta-analytic and other synthetic techniques to gain new, profound insights as well as to expose problems of conceptualization, methodology, and reporting in established inquiry­including research syntheses themselves. This book is a “must read” for anyone who really wants to know the value, and the pitfalls, of synthesizing research, to understand its various applications for second-language education, and to appreciate the qualities of rigor and trustworthiness required to evaluate and interpret ethically the collective results and complexities of empirical inquiry.”
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BIC Subject: CF – Linguistics
BISAC Subject: LAN009000 – LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / General
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U.S. Library of Congress Control Number:  2006042702 | Marc record