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SLA research in postmethod era: Neglects, misunderstandings, and alternatives

Author(s): Hossein Navidinia

Journal: International Journal of Language Studies
ISSN 2157-4898

Volume: 4;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 49;
Date: 2010;
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Keywords: Qualitative research | quantitative analysis | SLA | SLA research

Much of the recent literature in the field of SLA research has a primary reliance on experimental design and quantitative analysis. Since SLA is so complex and multidimensional a phenomenon, it is difficult to study in an unnatural experimental design. In such a setting, some of the variables that affect the very nature of language learning may be missed or eliminated within experimental design. Furthermore, the complexity and elusiveness of SLA often make it difficult to formulate the appropriate questions or to identify the relevant variables. At the same time, the profession is becoming more socially responsive and more politically involved, and the facts that language pedagogy is context sensitive, and it is not just about cognitive factors have been well documented. These new developments are in contrast with some concepts such as objectivity, generalizability and idealization that we have in our research orientation. The purpose of this paper is to show that research orientation in SLA does not match with the new developments that we have had in the profession, and to shed more light on the core assumptions underlying qualitative research, proposing it as an alternative and a more relevant way of doing research in SLA.
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