Research Trends in Selected M.A. TESOL Programs in Taiwan: A Preliminary Content Analysis of Master’s Theses from 2003-2007

| December 24, 2010
Title
Research Trends in Selected M.A. TESOL Programs in Taiwan: A Preliminary Content Analysis of Master s Theses from 2003-2007

Keywords: TESOL, research trends, master s thesis, content analysis, and Taiwan

Authors
Lu-Chun Lin & Chiao-Ping Cheng
National Chiao Tung University, Taiwan

Bio Data
Lu-Chun Lin is an Assistant Professor in the Graduate Institute of TESOL at National Chiao Tung University, Taiwan. She received her Ph.D. degree in Speech and Hearing Science with a second concentration in Second Language Acquisition and Teacher Education at the University of Illinois in 2006. Her past research focused on first and second language development and disorders. Her recent research has been expanded to examine EFL children s vocabulary, reading, and writing development both within and across languages.

Chiao-Ping Chen is a master s student in the Graduate Institute of TESOL at National Chiao Tung University, Taiwan. Her research interests are EFL children s English development and advisor-advisee relationship.

Abstract
This paper examines the research trends in selected master s programs of Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) by analyzing the master s theses produced between 2003 and 2007. Seven TESOL graduate programs in different national universities, which also provide a secondary teacher education program, were selected. Data consisted of 493 thesis abstracts retrieved from the Electronic Theses and Dissertations System of National Digital Library. Using a content-analysis method, we identified the education levels of research contexts and research topics to present current research trends in Taiwan TESOL programs. The analysis of the research contexts showed that the two most common contexts were secondary education in high school and undergraduate education in universities. Although the nature of the master s theses selected spans a wide range of research topics and varies across different programs, the preliminary analysis identified the four most frequently investigated topics were: (1) language skills, including research on listening, speaking, reading, writing, pronunciation, vocabulary, and grammar, (2) teaching methods or approaches, (3) materials or curriculum and computer assisted language learning (CALL) tying for third. The patterns of the research agenda on English education in Taiwan reflected in the thesis research are briefly discussed in relation to different graduate program characteristics, local English educational issues, and global research trends in TESOL. It is hoped that the findings of this study will provide not only an overview of current research trends in TESOL programs in Taiwan but also new insights for future research directions and development for both TESOL master s students and researchers as they consider research topics to explore.

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Category: Quarterly Journal, Volume 12 Issue 4