Sunday, March 30, 2014

Research Part 2: Problem Statement

I am currently in the process of writing my problem statement. Although my concern was well-justified based on the journals I found, I am still having trouble finding a context for my problem.

Although I've gotten a general idea that my research should be around secondary schools, but the context could be anyone - either the students, the students exposed to Literature, the teachers... I can do a comparative study between teachers who learn Literature during their university years and teachers who haven't, but I guess I have to ask Dr. Aziah about this.

My general aim is to investigate the trend of emotive language (or lack of it) in ESL secondary classroom. However, I'm still thinking of refining it. Based on my previous post, I think I've already had some RQs in mind.

That aside, you can see some journal articles corroborating my problem statement HERE. I'll post my problem statement in i-Learn later (and I might also put it in my blog if you would like to see my progress).

It's like an eternal struggle, but I'll cope.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Research Part 1: Topic Materialization (iii)

After giving it much thought, I've decided to broaden my topic a little bit. Initially, I'm interested in looking into the effects of framing and how it can help in teaching persuasive speech/essay. However, Dr. Aziah always asks HOW are we going to collect data. I found this question exceptionally difficult if I were to pick on this topic.

So, I think I will focus on language and emotions, and students/teacher's perception regarding this. I don't think we were taught how to relate language and our emotions throughout our 12 years of schooling. To be honest, I can only think about this topic after taking TESL and being exposed to a lot of Literature.

Why is emotive language important, you ask?

Thus, several questions can be asked here, i.e. How come students do not see this relation between language and emotion despite being exposed to Literature in secondary school? How effective is the knowledge of this relationship to students' linguistic ability? Is teaching English and relating it to emotions important at all?

Well, I think I'm on to something now. :)

Friday, March 21, 2014

Research Part 1: Topic Materialization (ii)

When it comes to emotive language, I stumbled upon the famous Sapir-Whorf hypothesis. You can read all about it here. This hypothesis claims that the language we speak shapes the way we think.

Also, I found a study on how Spanish-English bilinguals speak Spanish in a more emotional tone than they do English, regardless of their nationality (unfortunately I cannot remember where did I find it, I'll quote it here later).

That's interesting enough, but the problem is how do I relate it to ESL classrooms in Malaysia? Maybe a bit more reading would help (which I still am yet to do until now so sorry Dr. T.T) so I Googled some more.

I also found another theory that can be the base of my research: the framing effect. This theory believes that the way we speak/construct our sentences affect people's decision-making, which sounds a lot like persuasive speech. The effects of framing, based on my little bit of reading, were frequently researched on in the field of politics and marketing, but not education.

If you are interested to know more about framing effect, this website has a number of amusing examples. :)

When it comes to framing effect, I was thinking that I could relate to how we can teach persuasive speech/essay to ESL learners. Other than that, I could relate the emotions found in language with literature. When I discussed this with my friends, they also suggested that I could research on the way teachers construct their reinforcements to students. As you may have already known, B. F. Skinner proposed that there are two ways to shape learner's behavior, that is via positive reinforcement and negative reinforcement. This is one of the basis of behaviorism.

All in all, there's just too many concerns which strike my fancy. I might draw a problem tree later on. Also, I have yet to think about the 3Cs that Dr. has told us to: concern, context, and corroboration. I'll come back here once I've refined my research topic.

Till then! :D

Research Part 1: Topic Materialization

Actually, it's already the end of Week 3. Haha. Can I go cry now? Sorry, Dr Aziah. I will try my best to catch up with the others. :'D

So basically, I've spent my whole degree years researching/studying on the technical/syntactical part of the language. My topic for AE was even on ESL grammar, so I think I should do something different for my Master's thesis. Hence came the interest to look into the psychological aspect of language, particularly English.

That's still a bit broad, so I started Googling. Google suggested doing a study on learner's belief, but I find that topic a bit stale (no offence). Then I remembered how I love watching South Park and I kind of picked bits of pieces of English from the cartoon (and not to mention a lot of political and cultural knowledge, too).

(in case you are wondering what South Park is)

So, I was thinking, can't that cartoon be put to good use, i.e. to teach English? But then I realized there's just too much vulgarity in that cartoon (seriously, if you are a no-nonsense type of person, I suggest you refrain yourself from watching it) so it proved impossible to use as an AVA in schools.

Then again, my dilemma was why are we refrained from learning about swear words and the likes? This is starting to get a bit controversial so let me explain. For years, I've been thinking, we always refrain our children from swearing, yet we swear freely because we are adults. Furthermore, men are generally accepted when it comes to swearing, as opposed to the females. Why is this so? It's not like swear words are going to limit our linguistic knowledge. What is the role of vulgarity in our language? There's so many unanswered questions!

So, this is actually a problem/concern I am interested in, and it kind of involves sociolinguistics, so I tried Googling again. Sadly, no research has ever been done on this, but I stumbled on something else.

Google suggested "language and emotions" and it quickly drew my attention.

Thursday, March 20, 2014


Hi, I'm Atiqah and this blog is a part of the requirement for our Research Method class. This blog is going to be a bit personal though so I hope you don't mind. :)

Since three weeks ago, I've been eating and sleeping and rolling around thinking of potential topics for my research proposal. To be honest, topic materialization is the hardest part of research. It can take practically forever. T.T

So, I think this portfolio is quite good to document my thoughts and progress on my research proposal - otherwise all my theoretical progress (which is basically my thoughts on research) will just go with the wind. 

If you happen to visit my blog and are interested in what I say/write, your comments are much appreciated! Either arguments, suggestions, etc., it might help in leading me to my best research proposal.

See you around!