Research methods and approaches in Applied Linguistics: Looking back and moving forward. AILA Review, Volume 27
  • ISSN 1461-0213
  • E-ISSN: 1570-5595


Since its inception, the field of second language research has utilized methods from a number of areas, including general linguistics, psychology, education, sociology, anthropology and, recently, neuroscience and corpus linguistics. As the questions and objectives expand, researchers are increasingly pushing methodological boundaries to gain a clearer picture of second language learning. At one end for example, we see measures of cognition (e.g., brain imaging and eye tracking) and at the other end we see exploration of issues of culture and identity (e.g., ethnographies, deep dive case studies, introspective and narrative analyses). There is an emerging emphasis on research synthesis, meta-analysis, and replication. This article illustrates a few of the advancements in methods and research agendas in SLA. I will conclude by highlighting some of the ways that second language researchers can continue to incorporate, assimilate, and shape methodology, as well as pointing out some of the potential pitfalls, and overall, how these methodological innovations benefit the field.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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