A Multi-theoretical Mixed-methods Approach to Investigating Research Engagement by University ELT Staff.

Keranen, Nancy Susan (2008) A Multi-theoretical Mixed-methods Approach to Investigating Research Engagement by University ELT Staff. PhD thesis, Lancaster University.

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Although participation by EFL teachers in research activity is frequently advocated as desirable, involvement of this kind is often lacking in practice. The purpose of this study was to attempt to investigate possible causes of this situation. A review of the non-ELT literature on the subject showed that rates of participation in research activity by academics working in higher education institutions are thought to be affected primarily by a combination of three main factors, i.e., environmental variables, personal variables, and feedback processes. Because of their perceived relevance to exploring them, the Theory of Planned Behavior (TpB) and Social Cognitive Theory (SCT) were used as investigative frameworks for the study of such factors within the research site, a Mexican university setting. The study involved identification and comparison of a number of the perceptions and traits of a group of research active (RA) participants from a variety of non-ELT disciplines within the research setting with those of a number of nonresearch active (NRA) EFL teachers working in the Faculty of Modem Languages in the same research site. The overall research design was two-phase and mixed-methods in nature. In the first phase of the study, quantitative data were generated from both sets of participants by the use of a TpB-based questionnaire. The findings indicated that the two groups were differentiated primarily in terms of self-identity and perceived social factors. In the second main phase of the study, qualitative data were generated via life story interviews with a selection of the same participants, and analyzed from an SCT perspective. The principal finding was that, in contrast to the NRA subjects, RA participants as a group experienced a "'Matthew effect' of accumulated SCT factors", whereby earlier success in research engagement increased the potential for later success. The findings are seen to imply that attempting to increase research engagement by university ELT staff in settings such as the one studied should involve taking into account antecedent factors associated with beliefs affecting research behavior of the kind identified.

Item Type:
Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information:
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Lancaster University (United Kingdom), 2008.
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Deposited On:
02 May 2019 16:36
Last Modified:
20 Jul 2024 01:08