For some time now, I have been meaning to make my M.A. thesis available on my Blog, so today with the dandelions pulled from the lawn, the grass cut, and the creek in the ravine diverted, I am stealing a moment of weekend time (before digging into our taxes!) to post a PDF version of my M.A. thesis.
I must admit that my motivation to do so was given a further boost by a talk on the importance of sharing research given by my colleague Stian Haklev. As you will see if you have a look at Stian’s site, he is a fervent proponent of open source material. As I have noted previously, making research available for teachers and other researchers is also my raison d’être, so without further ado, here it is.
I think one very important contribution that my thesis makes is that it provides an up-close and personal view of what the two Japanese language tourists featured in my research actually did with their time in their study abroad. The study abroad literature has many strengths, but it tends to rely on questionnaires (and sometimes journal reports) to assess the amount and context of language exposure and use. In my thesis, you will experience what actually happened in terms of English-usage when, for example, Akira was drinking and watching soccer with friends or what Hiroko said when walking through China Town with a classmate. There is a quantitative analysis of how often these learners had the potential to learn through their spoken output as hypothesized in Swain’s (1985, 1995, 2005) comprehensible output hypothesis. This analysis includes what they did during their study abroad both in and out of class. My thesis also features stimulated recalls and semi-structured interviews with the learners about their language-usage experience and excerpts from their journals. I hope it is helpful for researchers, teachers, and even learners engaging in language studies abroad