The Editor and Board of Language Teaching are pleased to announce that the recipient of the 2010 Christopher Brumfit thesis award is Dr Susan Mary Macqueen.
Dr Macqueen's Ph.D. thesis, entitled The emergence of patterns in second language writing, was selected by an external panel of judges based on its significance to the fields of second language acquisition, second or foreign language learning and teaching, and its originality, creativity and quality of presentation. Drawing upon a convergence of sociocultural theory and linguistic emergentism, it reports on a long-term investigation of the development of four ESL users’ written lexicogrammatical patterning. A qualitative methodology (Lexical Trail Analysis) was developed in order to capture a dynamic and historical view of the ways in which the participants combined words.
The external referees remarked of the thesis that it represented ‘a fascinating qualitative and longitudinal study of lexical development. The objective is to highlight the psychological, rather than the linguistic, aspects of lexical pattern acquisition, which is novel in its holistic approach to the process as a complex and socially situated act. While the study has important implications for the field of lexical acquisition, it is equally relevant for the field at large, as it is able to bring together compatible theories (emergentism/ecological theories and sociocultural theory) while illustrating in great detail the profound complexity and interplay of the social and cognitive realms of second language acquisition’.
Dr Macqueen completed her dissertation at the University of Melbourne, Australia under the supervision of Professor Gillian Wigglesworth.
This year's runner-up was Dr Justina Ong. Dr Ong's Ph.D. thesis, Effects of planning and revising on Chinese ESL learners’ text quality, was presented at the National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, under the supervision of Professor Lawrence Jun Zhang. The study investigated the effects of planning (extended pre-task, pre-task, free-writing, and control), sub-planning (topic, ideas and macro-structure, topic and ideas, and topic given), and revising (draft and no draft available) conditions on fluency, lexical complexity, and text quality of 108 Chinese ESL learners’ argumentative texts. It was singled out for praise as ‘a refreshing advance into the study of writing tasks. It has classroom face-validity in terms of the various experimental conditions, it links to the L1 writing literature, it shows new thinking, and implicitly raises big questions about the two main task complexity models that have obsessed research in the last few years’.
Aim To recognize doctoral thesis research that makes a significant and original contribution to the field of SLA and/or foreign/second language teaching and learning.
Award Cambridge University Press books to the value of £500
Eligibility To be considered for the award:
• The candidate's institution must have accepted the thesis for the Ph.D./Ed.D. no more than two years before the date of the award application.
• The research must have been completed as part of the requirements for a doctoral degree or its equivalent at a university.
• Although the thesis under consideration must be in English, the research may be related to work concerning any second language.
• Candidates should not have applied for the award on a previous occasion.
Application processIn the first instance, applicants must submit the following:
• Two files: One MS WORD file containing a summary of the thesis, not to exceed 17 double-spaced pages, with references, font size 12, and a separate MS WORD file containing a 150-word abstract of the thesis. Both files should be clearly labelled with the candidate's name. Neither file should exceed 2 MB.
Care should be taken in drafting the summary so that the referees are provided with as detailed a report as possible on the work undertaken. The summary should include a brief description of the theoretical background of the research and specify the research questions, the research methods (including data analyses) used and why these were chosen, the results, and implications of these outcomes. Examiners will pay particular attention to: whether the study makes a significant and original contribution to knowledge and understanding of the field concerned; whether the problem tackled emerges naturally and clearly from the review of the theoretical background of the research; whether the method is presented in sufficient detail and with enough explanation as to why the methods used were chosen; whether the analytic methods used are justified and shown to be sufficient for the task and if these are clearly linked to the explicit hypotheses, predictions or questions which formed part of the stated research problem; whether the discussion and/or conclusion evaluates the project's contribution to the local and wider field of research; finally, whether there is a clear and significant contribution to the field of SLA and/or FL teaching and learning.
• Proof of the award of the degree by the candidate's university. This can be a scanned copy in pdf form of the degree certificate or a scanned official letter/transcript from the university in question stating clearly the date of conferment of the degree.
Only electronic applications are accepted.
• Scholarly or professional significance to the field of second or foreign language
• Originality and creativity
• Quality of presentation
30 November 2011 Deadline for receipt of summary and abstract and official proof of thesis acceptance
20 February 2012 Feedback given to all candidates and call for electronic submission of theses of short-listed candidates
3 March 2012 Deadline for receipt of theses
1 August 2012 Announcement of award winner by the Editorial Board of Language Teaching
Contact details for application and further information
Dr Graeme Porte, Editor Language Teaching