Selecting participants (SS) for L2 research

Selecting participants (Ss)
Above: the main square
in Tuscania; the Post
Office
Discussion Topic 5:
Selecting participant (Ss) for L2 research
As everyone knows, the random selection of participants (Ss) from
the one or more populations of interest in a study is a hallmark of
behavioral research. A researcher who randomly selects Ss for a
study of height from the student body of Central High School will
certainly find that 16-year-old boys are taller than 16-year-old girls.
The expected finding might NOT be obtained, however, if the
researcher recruits all of the female participants for the study from
the High School's girls basketball team and all of the male
participants from the school's chapter of the "Friends of Pygmies
Society". This is an obvious example of sampling bias. Alas,
sampling bias is not always obvious.
Very few, if any, L2 speech studies have adhered to the requirement
of random selection of participants. This is usually done for reasons
of necessity rather than out of ignorance of how behavioral research
should be conducted. In some cases, unfortunately, the "shortcut"
taken in participant selection may influence not only the outcome of
the research but also it's interpretation.
I'll begin with some critical comments regarding research in my lab,
and point to what I consider to be some of the limitations that exist.
(to follow)
I am well aware of how hard it is to recruit participants (Ss) for L2
research. I was very lucky, having time and financial resources for
my research. Many researchers have little time and even less
money, which means that real ingenuity is needed to find page.
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permission to publish on this site if you want to make your comments public. Thanks. JEF