English-Language Dramas and Soap Operas Research Proposal

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The long-term effects of such learning suggest that language skills and vocabulary are also retained longer when learned in a context other than pure ESL instruction (Song 2006).

Both quantitative and qualitative data will be collected and analyzed as a part of this research study. Questionnaires with both closed and open response sections will be developed independently for students and ESL instructors, and administered electronically to those involved both in ESL courses that utilize television drama and soap operas as a method of instruction and those that do not. Quantitative data will be obtained both from reports of course performance and retention provided by learning institutions (after privacy issues have been met, of course), and through the use of a standardized test for English learning such as the TOEFL administered immediately and sometime after completion of a course, as a measure of both overall success in the program and retention of the learning accomplished in the course.

There is an abundant pool of respondents available for study, many of whom are known to be involved in courses that utilize soap operas and other onscreen dramas in order to facilitate ESL learning. Ryo (2009) notes the recent emergence of as many as fifty-three South Korean blogging sites devoted to the discussion of such ESL learning courses and tactics, providing not only evidence of the large pool of respondents available for this research project but also a convenient way in which to first begin approaching potential respondents, and obtaining initial background information necessary for the development of effective tests. In addition, many colleges, private schools, and other educational institutions publish course catalogs describing the instructional method of many ESL, enabling informed preliminary decisions of the inclusion in or exclusion from the study of particular course, institutions, and student groups. Initial contact with the administrative personnel at these various institutions will also prove quite useful in determining the ease and/or possibility of working with specific institutions.

Past research experience includes the administering of in-person questionnaires involving problem solving and critical thinking skills to persons of varying age, in a preliminary effort to determine basic learning differences and degradations that existed both between genders and as aging progressed.
Though unpublished, the research project provided extensive experience in the development of qualitative instruments, as well as in the manipulation and analysis of both qualitative and quantitative data. The experience earned there will prove essential in the development and conducting of the research project proposed herein.


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