Towards an ELI research
The following list of imaginary
sample term paper titles, research questions, and topics for research is not
by any means exhaustive - it is simply intended to stimulate thinking and encourage
investigations that would be of immediate assistance to the ELI or directly
inform the policy and practice of ELI staff. (Most of this list was developed
following discussions 12/9/98, between Crookes, Harsch, and Jacques; and revised
by Faucette, Ishida, Ito, Talmy, Urano, Fall, 2002; Spring, 2003)
Curriculum in general
- Research on or a survey
of existing "modular" curricula in EAP programs
- What are current developments
in curricula in each of the skill areas?
- Research exploring the
differences between integrated-skills courses and separate skill-area courses.
- Research exploring what
happens when courses are separated by skills but all skills are involved (e.g.,
the focus is on one skill area, but all skills are used extensively and in
an integrated manner)
- Listening/Speaking and
Reading - Research on how to help students make connections between strategies
and academic needs.
70 = Intermediate-level
80 = Advanced-level
- Developing a diagnostic
test for 70 & 80
- Materials review or development
of Enriching materials/activities. Although the following sub-components are
also in the order of priorityi.e., the ones listed top are higher in
prioritywe have different needs between 70 and 80. Namely, there are
more needs for developing/finding enriching supplemental materials than finding
new possible textbooks in 80. On the other hand in 70, we have an equal need
for enriching supplemental materials and for finding new possible textbooks.
- Textbooks for future
courses: Are the current textbooks appropriate? Do they meet the curriculum?
- Supplemental materials,
especially for 70
- More activities/materials
on: listening strategies pronunciation
for developing discussion strategies
- Materials for 80
w/ listening input
- Materials for teaching
interview skills in 80
- Survey of or development
of videotapes of model academic presentations
- Materials which teach
spoken pragmatics for EAP
- How to help students
make connections between strategies and academic needs
- Research on EAP programs
with separate listening/speaking courses
72 = Intermediate-level
82 = Advanced-level
- Developing materials
for diagnostic tests
- Materials Development
- Developing students'
- Students to evaluate
- Critical reading
- A survey/review of existing,
recommended alternative materials (Intermediate Reading EAP)
- Any other fluency-building
or vocabulary-related activities appropriate for 72 (or 82).
- Research on methods and
materials for helping students develop their ability to read beneath the surface
- Research on reading speed
73 = Intermediate-level
writing course for graduate and undergraduate students
83 = Advanced-level writing course for graduate students
100 = Advanced-level writing course for undergraduate students
- Developing and improving
the 73 curriculum
- Developing separate curriculum
"tracks" within 73 for the graduate and undergraduate students
- A survey/review of existing,
recommended alternative materials appropriate for 73 (Intermediate Writing
- Research on types of
feedback (both teacher and peer feedback)
- Research on long-term
grammar instruction of difficult grammatical aspects (e.g., articles)
- Research on how students
incorporate feedback and their views about the usefulness of different types
of feedback e.g. Clymer-Knapp & Wishnoff's study of the use of hedges
in academic writing (done in ELI 83) as a study that met needs of students
and helped the instructor.
Curriculum-- Online Courses
- A survey/review of existing
online EAP courses/materials similar to those which match the ELI needs.
- Which platform is better
suited to offer online courses-- Blackboard? WebCT? Self-designed website?
From the students' point of view and the teachers'?
- Evaluation of ELI online
- How equivalent are the
on-campus ELI courses and the online courses?
- How can the online teacher
more efficiently manage the class?
- Research on web-based
EAP instruction in a university setting.
- Research on materials
for self-access centers
- Survey or review of existing
EAP materials appropriate for the ELI's needs
- How adequate are published
materials for the ELI population?
- What are the advantages
of teacher-made materials (if any) in ELI classroom contexts?
- Research on the use of
authentic materials in EAP context
- Overall and skill-area
needs analyses, on an ongoing basis
- How can end-of-term evaluations
better serve the needs of students?
NOTE: Many needs analyses,
needs assessments, etc., have been done of the ELI population over the years.
Consult the hard copy files before proposing more, please.
- Given the constraints
on the ELI, what can be done to raise support student motivation?
- Which courses (or skill
areas) are typically more motivating for students?
- What is it that successful
ELI teachers do to motivate students?
- What can be done to make
the ELI a more comfortable, yet also more academically stimulating environment
for ELI students?
Testing & Assessment
- Does the ELIPT reflect
what is done in ELI classes? To what extent can we develop resource-efficient
ELIPT components that better fit with students' needs and ELI courses?
- Research on portfolio
- Research on students'
- Research on other forms
of in-class assessment
- Online instruction: Research
or review of other existing online courses similar to those offered by the
- What makes a successful
- Technology? To what extent
does learning via technology (and learning how to use the technology) enhance
and/or subtract from the kinds of language learning ELI students need?
- In what ways can instructors
use students' multilingual backgrounds to enhance teaching?
- Research on group work
vs. whole-class work
- What can the ELI do to
help beginning GA instructors? Continuing GA instructors?
- How can the ELI improve
its training for online instructors?
- In what specific ways,
and in what areas, does teaching in the ELI assist GAs' professional development?
(How or in what areas could improvements be made?)
- What are the relations
between ELI staff and research? Consumers, producers, transformers...?
- Does being a cooperative
teacher for practicum students enhance the teaching experience or lead to
- What are the needs of
- How can ELI activities
help instructors develop their teacher portfolios?
- How can the end-of-term
evaluations better serve the needs of teachers?
- Research on developing
effective mentoring relationships in the workplace.
- How does ELI students
performance in university compare with the performance of students who were
exempted from the ELI?
- Development of systems
for tracking or monitoring students efficiently
- How can the end-of-term
evaluations better help with administrative decisions?
- Literature reviews of
how many other ELIs have gotten their universities to grant students credit
toward graduation for ELI classes, and how they went about it
- Research on how to go
about persuading UHM to grant students credit toward graduation for ELI classes,
and/or life-experience credit for their L1s as meeting the foreign-language
The economics and politics
- Is it ethical to staff
an IEP primarily with part-time non-qualified staff?
- Under what circumstances
(comparative living standards, currency exchange rates, etc) can IEPs offer
professional pay and at the same time survive economically?
- Is learning a second
language at school in-country still mainly the province of international elites?
Or, how middle-class is the ELI?
- How do issues of anxiety,
culture shock, etc., affect our students? Are the ELI's responses to problems
in these areas adequate? What general conclusions (if any) can be drawn for
SL learning or for IEPs?
Research on institutional
- How can IEPs do fund-raising?
- The role of community
connections in IEP support and development