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Kata Csizér & Ágnes Albert: Qualitative Investigation of Individual Differences in Language Pedagogy: Topical Meta-analysis of International Journals

The aim of the study presented here is to provide a meta-analytical investigation on topics in individual difference research conducted partially or fully with the help of qualitative methods in leading journals of our field. After selecting the top five journals of language pedagogy, we checked all the articles that appeared in them within the past four years. First, the number of articles dealing with individual differences was established, then we built our corpus from those articles that either exclusively employed qualitative methods or that were mixed-method studies partially relying on qualitative methodology. The resulting corpus consisted of 80 articles, but since in one of the journals selected only one article used a qualitative method despite the high number of ID articles published in it, we decided to exclude it from our final analysis. A thematic analysis of the remaining 79 articles was carried out; with the help of which we were able to draw some conclusions with regard to the publication profile of the four journals. The thematic analysis also enabled us to highlight the latest tendencies in the field of individual differences. It was found that similarly to questionnaire studies, certain topics are favoured by qualitative methods, so the representation of the different IDs is far from balanced. We also identified a growing interest in individual differences related to various information processing aspects of language learning; the large number of articles and the variety of topics investigated in them suggest that there seems to be no consensus to date with regard to which of these variables should be elevated to the status of the most influential ones. Several of the critiques phrased in connection with quantitative ID studies are not really addressed by qualitative research either: it is rare to find qualitative studies that would examine multiple IDs at the same time. Moreover, although there are some studies that focus on teachers or parents, finding qualitative studies where the different agents of the language learning process are examined in concert are hard to come by.

MAGYAR PEDAGÓGIA 120. Number 3. 203-227. (2020)

Levelezési cím / Address for correspondence: Csizér Kata és Albert Ágnes, Eötvös Loránd Tudományegyetem. H–1053 Budapest, Egyetem tér 1–3.


Magyar Tudományos Akadémia