Article published in:Study Abroad Research in Second Language Acquisition and International Education
Vol. 1:2 (2016) ► pp. 248–276
An appraisal of the Language Contact Profile as a tool to research local engagement in study abroad
Assessing the type and quantity of out-of-class foreign language (L2) interaction that learners engage in is crucial in study abroad research. This assessment has commonly been performed with the Language Contact Profile (LCP). This article critically appraises the LCP as a measure for providing reliable data to correlate language interaction with language gains. Information about the L2 use of U.S. university students studying in Argentina was obtained using quantitative (LCP) and qualitative (interview, authentic interaction, and observation) measures. The results suggest that some LCP items were ambiguous and limited in their ability to capture fluctuations in students’ local engagement throughout the semester. The LCP also provided internally inconsistent participant reports of out-of-class L2 use. Notably, the results highlight the importance of considering discourse quality when comparing hours of interaction reported by different students, suggesting that numerical comparisons across participants cannot be interpreted to necessarily lead to comparable language gains.
Keywords: Language Contact Profile, measures of social interaction, out-of-class interaction, social networks, local engagement
Published online: 27 October 2016
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