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Vocabulary learning strategies of English majors in Libyan higher education: an analytic survey with special reference to stimulated recall methodology

Balhouq, Hana Suhbi Ali (2018) Vocabulary learning strategies of English majors in Libyan higher education: an analytic survey with special reference to stimulated recall methodology. Doctoral thesis (PhD), Manchester Metropolitan University.

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Abstract

The present study investigates the relative merits of different methods to assess the use of vocabulary learning strategies (VLS) in the Libyan learning context. The main method of assessment is stimulated recall methodology which will provide and explain insights and comments of Libyan learners learning English as a foreign language with a special focus on vocabulary learning. This research will offer information which will help the learners and teachers to gain a clear picture of what Libyan university learners are doing while they are learning vocabulary. This thesis consists of ten chapters. The first four chapters provide the theoretical framework where this research study investigates vocabulary learning strategies used by foreign language learners in general. Different definitions, characteristics, taxonomies and studies of VLS are discussed in chapter 2 and 3. Further, it aims to discuss the effect of certain individual, situational and social factors on the use of VLS. Chapter four provides an overview of the research methods used in the remaining sections of the thesis. The last five chapters provide the practical part of this research. A number of methods is used to survey the use of VLS used within the Libyan university classroom. The main aims of this part are to identify and investigate the VLS of the Libyan undergraduate students majoring in learning English as a foreign language use; assess the value of stimulated recall methodology (SRM) as an investigatory method or tool in this area of research; and compare (a) the outcomes of the analysis of VLS using a variety of assessment methods such as questionnaires, interviews and diaries with (b) the outcomes of the analysis using SRM. In order to identify Libyan university students’ use of VLS using both quantitative and qualitative methods, multiple data collection methods were used in the present study: (1) the initial background questionnaire gives the general background information on the participants, and which vocabulary learning strategies they use; (2) the vocabulary level test has been used in order to assess the proficiency level of Libyan students in vocabulary; (3) the teachers’ interview and questionnaire have suggested that the English teachers studied were aware of a range of vocabulary learning strategies; (4) the teachers’ and learners’ diaries show the interaction between the teachers, the learners and the learning context. The diaries are used in research because they can provide more detailed data of language learning in process. And 5) The classroom observation and stimulated recall interview (both stimulated recall methodology (SRM)) are addressed in chapter 8 in order to provide a complete detailed insight into what it is happening into foreign language classrooms. SRM can provide in-depth data about classroom process events, activities, instructions, and techniques that occurred in learning a foreign language. First, the subjects are observed and videotaped to record what the participants actually do in order to learn vocabulary. Then the researcher plays back the tape for them to provide feedback on their learning in the classroom. In chapter 9 the results of this method are analysed and then are compared with the results obtained from other methods in order to show the significance of this research method (SRM) in assessing VLS used in Libyan classrooms. Finally, at the end of this thesis, the conclusion and recommendations will represent the theoretical considerations of the research study and summarize their results. The discussion of the results suggests several important recommendations for the learning and teaching of vocabulary learning strategies for the Libyan university students and other similar contexts.

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