Review ~ Replication Research in Applied Linguistics

A collection of worthwhile papers explaining issues related to replication studies in the field of Applied Linguistics for interested researchers.
Reviewed for Teflnet by Sepideh Mirzaei Fard
Replication Research in Applied Linguistics

Replication Research in Applied Linguistics

As a PhD student and a newcomer to the world of research I found Replication Research in Applied Linguistics to be a useful extra textbook for research courses at universities along with other sources the professors introduced. Most of the time the doctoral students are encouraged to try to make a contribution to the overall knowledge of the field when it comes to selecting a topic for their research by doing something totally new. However, after reading this book, I found that we CAN contribute to the knowledge of the field even by doing appropriate replication studies, provided that we know the proper and accurate way of doing such research. If you want know how to replicate research and are eager to know the technical practices of replication in applied linguistics, then this book is written for you.

The book is organized carefully in three parts. First, we are introduced to the field by the editor of this collection with a comprehensible introduction to replication research in scientific thinking and practice, especially in applied linguistics. The book starts by explaining some introductory issues and then continues by explaining some practical aspects such as how to do and write replication research. The last part of the book provides two real examples of qualitative and quantitative replication research.

The first part of the book, “The Case for Replication Studies”, consists of four articles. Article one pays special attention to why or why not, when, and how to replicate research. Alison Mackay emphasizes the need for replication studies in second language acquisition. Furthermore, if you want to grasp the historical perspective of published replication studies, the second article by Charlene Polio provides a brief discussion of the type of replication studies which have been done. In the third article by Hossein Nassaj some other issues such as misconceptions about the statistical significance test, meta-analysis and generalizability has been provided. He concludes that the only way to find whether research is generalizable is conducting replicability analysis, which he categorizes into two types: external and internal replication. Article four looks at the topic related to replication, meta-analysis and generalizability and the relation between them.

The second part of the book, “Replication Studies in Graduate Programs”, consists of two articles which deal with the need to teach replication research in our graduate schools and give an accurate notion of it. Rebekha Abbuhl emphasizes that replication is not copying and it is worth conducting. She adds that it will help us to better understand issues and not just accept the result of one piece of research as “the truth”. She then provides examples for the students to understand how and when to replicate a study. This is followed by valuable questions to be answered by the students in order to know how to choose a study for replication. These are the precious practical part of this article. Moreover, article six is a practical example of a graduate program at Swansea University which indicates the theoretical aspects of the previous articles in real practice. By going through this article, it is revealed that all of the students in this program believed they learned and benefited a lot from replication. This made them read the original research critically, which led them to be able to do their real empirical work.

Part three of the book, “Replication Studies in Practice”, does what the title implies, covering the practical aspects of replication studies and providing guidelines for writing up quantitative replication research, and followed by two examples of replication studies, qualitative and quantitative replication reports. The first article of this part by James Dean Brown focuses on how to write up a replication report with the focus on quantitative replication and provides a guideline with different heading and subheadings which should be written in a replication report and the parts which should be compared with the original study. The most inventive and practical part is that in which the writer analyzes the replication report of Johannes Eckerth from article eight. In fact, this part is really enjoyable and tangible for everyone. The interrelation of the two following reports is really worthwhile and valuable to read and try to put into practice. The writer discusses different parts of the report and relates it to the guidelines for writing a replication report. It is worth mentioning that article eight is an example of approximate replication of a qualitative study but the reader can compare each section of this replication report with the framework provided by Brown in the previous article. To have an overview of an approximate replication of a quantitative study, you can read article nine by Susanne Rott. By reading this report, everyone can understand how researchers strengthen and generalize the result of an original quantitative study. This article is also in line with article seven of this part. In the concluding article, written by the editor, the important role of the journal editors and journals is mentioned, in that they need to call for replication research papers and understand the value of replication for publication.

Overall, this book is well organized from theory to practice. As such, the book is great for all of the researchers, journal editors, and doctoral and MA students in applied linguistics. Everyone can benefit from it no matter if she or he is a qualitative or a quantitative researcher.

Reviewed by Sepideh Mirzaei Fard for December 2012

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