Policies and Procedures
for Conducting Research in the ELI
document is primarily addressed to student members of the Department of Second
Language Studies. However, the policies are applicable to anyone wishing to conduct research in the ELI or solicit participants from ELI classes. )
Please register the fact
that it will take time to complete the various steps outlined below. Research
that is conceptualized hastily and conducted in a rush is unlikely to produce
a satisfactory outcome, and is most likely to make an institution less willing
to grant access in future. In schools, it may leave teachers and students with
a negative attitude to research in general. Tact, courtesy, and sensitivity
are always necessary, regardless of the kind of research envisaged.
regarding approval to conduct research in the ELI or to solicit student volunteers
from ELI classes
- Obtain a copy of the
ELI research agenda. This is a list of topics that
the ELI staff would like to see research done on, to assist us with developing
our program, solving problems and clarifying issues, or investigating areas
we would like to know more about. This is what we call "in-house programmatic
research". The ELI can assist with other research topics and issues, of course,
but at the same time we naturally want to encourage, and will give priority to, research on our own program
needs and concerns.
- After you've worked out
your study with your advisor/professor, develop a research proposal, which
describes the topic and how you want to do the research. This should include
- A brief description
of your study and the purpose for which the study is being used (a course
paper, a Scholarly Paper, etc.).
- A brief description
of the methodology you will use.
- Examples of any instruments
you will use (if applicable).
- Information about
what kind of access to ELI students your study requires (either access
to specific ELI classes or access to student volunteers -- see below for
- A handout designed
to attract students to participate in your study.
- A copy of the request
for permission to be sent to ELI teachers (if applicable -- see Item 5
- A copy of the consent
form(s) you intend to use.
- Advising professor
approval verifying that the design, instruments, and handouts meet with
her/his approval (see below for more information).
- Submit your proposal
to the ELI Director, either in hard copy or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
(If you submit your proposal via email, ask your advising professor to send
an email message to the ELI Director verifying their approval of
all items mentioned above.) Your proposal may be passed to ELI teachers and
other staff for review and comments. If we see any problems with the design
of your study, or its effect on the ELI or its students, we will send you
back to your advisor for help in reformulating the proposal.
- After your advisor/professor
and the ELI have approved your study, you can proceed with getting approval
from the human subjects committee, if need be. Check with your advisor/professor
about whether or not your study needs the approval of the human subjects committee.
If your study is exempted from human subjects approval, you merely need to
let us know (an email message, with a 'cc' to your advisor/professor, will
suffice). However, if your study requires the approval of the human subjects
committee, you will have to wait until you get their approval before you will
be able to approach ELI teachers or students. You do not need to make a copy
of their approval for the ELI, but you do need to show the approval letter
to the ELI Director. The ELI Director needs to be informed
about this before you can approach ELI classes or ELI students.
(Note, however, that you do not have to get approval from human
subjects prior to sending your proposal to the ELI Director.
It makes more sense to get your study reviewed and approved first by your
advisor/professor and the ELI before you go to all the trouble of filling
out the human subjects paperwork.)
- Obtain approval of any
ELI teacher you hope to involve in your study. a) If you will be conducting
involving any ELI classes, it is also necessary to get permission of the teachers
of those classes. Requests for teacher approval are usually 1-2 paragraphs,
briefly describing the aims of the study and how the classes will be used.
b) If you will be using ELI class time to solicit ELI student volunteers,
you will need to provide the teacher with a brief description of your study
(usually 1 paragraph) and copies of the handout for soliciting volunteers.
(Note that, even
if the ELI administration approves a project, individual teachers have the
right to refuse to participate or to have their class participate in a study,
if they feel it interferes with instruction or the aims of the course.)
related to writing your paper
- Read previous studies
of research done in the ELI, if available.
- Check the current UH-Manoa
catalog (or other relevant documents) for up-to-date factual information about
policies, courses, etc. related to the ELI.
- Double-check all "facts"
about the ELI with the Director or Curriculum Coordinator before
you finish and submit your paper. (Note: If we find that you misrepresented
the ELI, we will ask you to re-do your paper with the corrected information.)
- If your research was
done in specific ELI classes, or involving specific teachers, give those teachers
the opportunity to review and comment on your paper (or at least those parts
of your paper that relate to their class, their teaching, etc.) to ensure
that you are representing the teacher and the class fairly and accurately.
(Again, if we find that you misrepresented the teacher or the class, we
will ask you to re-do your paper with the corrected information.)
to ELI classes, test data, or students
Access to ELI classes and
ELI test data will only be possible if the study meshes with ELI needs. Check
the ELI research agenda to see what kinds of research
the ELI would like to have done.
Access to student volunteers
is the most common type of access granted. If you need to do this, you should
draft a one-page handout that is addressed to potential volunteers, at a level
that is easily understandable for the students being solicited. The handout
should explain what you need the students to volunteer for (in general terms),
where data gathering procedures will take place, how long it will take, what
language insights ELI students can gain from participating, how volunteers can
contact you, and what compensation they will receive (generally at least in
the form of some type of instructional feedback related to the study, or occasionally
some type of compensation like movie tickets, tutoring, or proofreading help
if the demands on participants are great). Remember, the professor advising
your study must approve your handout.
(Note: This applies even
to ELI staff conducting research.)
of your advising professor
The ELI does not have time
to help researchers edit their instruments, handouts, or consent forms. This
means that you will need to get advice and editing help from the professor advising
your study. It is our hope that this requirement will help ensure that your
study gets approved by the ELI more quickly. Copy and paste the following information
into a "statement of verification" that your advising professor will sign (or
send via email):
I have seen and approved
[student's name]'s proposal for research in the ELI, including the research
design, instruments (if any), volunteer handouts, and consent forms to be
used in this study.
Advising Professor's Name:
Advising Professor's Signature
copies of your paper
After you write up your
research, please provide the ELI with one hard copy and one electronic copy
of your paper. Please send us the electronic/digital copy as an email attachment.
We may post a .pdf version of your paper on our website so it can be accessible to other researchers
and to ELI staff. Thus, unless we receive a request from you specifically not to make it available on our website, we will assume that you have given your consent.
(updated August 2007)