Example Of Literature Review On Q3. Conclusions And Findings Drawn From The Study By The Authors
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Q1. Main Problem Addressed in the Research
The study focuses on an investigation on the two effects of cognitive strategies; semantic mapping and rote memorization on L2 vocabulary acquisition (p. 199). It acknowledges the fact that vocabulary is a key component of language proficiency and provides a basis for learners to communicate among themselves. In this research, Khoii and Sharififar notes that L2 teachers have been making attempts to determine, which learning strategies and tasks are effective to ensure that learners are capable of acquiring new words within a short period of time (p.199). However, in they also assert that there have been incidences of opposition within the learning fraternity concerning the use of memorization as a means of learning language. Khoii and Sharififar asserts that memorization has been perceived as more preferable compared to communicative, thought-oriented and constructive strategies, with a large number of people opposing it arguing that it is an out-dated, counterproductive and shallow language learning strategy. In this aspect, Khoii and Sharififar insinuate that a significant number of instructors are currently considering the introduction of L2 learning approach. This is the basis of Khoii and Sharififar’s research; they seek to compare the two learning strategies. This comparison is meant to identify, which learning strategy is more effective in activities that involve assisting learners to improve their vocabulary capacity.
Before the study, an exploration of approaches applicable in vocabulary teaching is performed. Khoii and Sharififar highlight and explore the two main approaches applicable in regard to vocabulary teaching. One of these approaches is explicit vocabulary learning while the second approach is implicit vocabulary learning. In explicit vocabulary learning, Khoii and Sharififar posits that it entails enhanced attention directed towards new words through planned and conscious strategies. However, in the case of implicit learning, it is considered a strategy that involves the learners acquiring new words without being aware of it for instance in cases of class reading as well as interaction. In their research, Khoii and Sharififar also explore memory and storage systems and their impact in long-term and short-term vocabulary learning. They begin by acknowledging the fact that all memory systems are interdependent, although short-term memory plays a critical role in incorporating ideas into long-term memory. According to Khoii and Sharififar, short-term memory is also referred as working memory. All new ideas acquired are organized and processed in the short-term memory and a relationship/interaction in the long-term memory. However, they acknowledge the fact that short-term memory can only process a limited amount of information units within any given period of time.
In order to create a proper foundation of information for the research, Khoii and Sharififar explore and describe cognitive strategies. It is described as the tools of intellectual processes; that is, it occurs when an individual is taught on ways of learning and acquisition of new ideas. The research engages readers in a description of rote memorization; which is described as a cognitive learning process that engages users in constant repletion of new words until they are memorized or completely understood. Owing to the fact that rote memorization is characterized as a means of fixing ideas into human mind; it has been considered an inappropriate learning method. This is majorly as a result of the fact that it does not engage learners into detailed understanding of concepts (p. 202). The research also engages readers on a description of semantic mapping, which is described as a visual strategy for expanding ones vocabulary knowledge (p.202). Other different types of cognitive strategies that are explored in Khoii and Sharififar’s research; resourcing, recombination, transfer, elaboration, translation, deduction, note taking, and imagery et cetera. Having identified these cognitive strategies, Khoii and Sharififar seeks to answer the research question: Which cognitive strategies produce effective results?
Q2. Research Perspective Employed to Address the Issue Identified
The research focuses on a previous hypothesis that was employed in a study conducted by Brown and Perry in 1991. Their hypothesis was based on the fact that the application of semantic-keyword strategy or those that involve greater depth of processing would enhance knowledge retention compared to those that relied on keyword-strategy. Khoii and Sharififar indicate that in Brown and Perry’s research, their hypothesis was proved after the results of their study indicated that a semantic strategy was more effective in ensuring that learners acquire knowledge of new words and their use.
The study also involved a focus on a major research question that sought to answer the question: Does the use of different cognitive strategies, namely semantic mapping and rote memorization, create significant variation among EFL learner’s vocabulary ideas? Taking this research question into perspective, Khoii and Sharififar engaged 52 participants of Intermediate Iranian females between ages 19 and 24 years. They were students at the level of Sophomore English Translation classes registered for Reading and Comprehension III at the University of Islamic –Azad. The participants were the subjected to homogenizing proficiency test; the remaining thirty-eight participants were divided into two groups. The first group were engaged in rote memorization while the second group was engaged into semantic-mapping as a means of language acquisition.
Data collection process involves the use of three instruments: To begin with, a standardized proficiency test comprising 30 vocabulary issues, 30 grammatical issues and 20 grammatical issues were administered to the students as a means of homogenization. The main purpose of this test was to relate any potential variation between the two groups’ knowledge on vocabulary to the two varying conditions that they were subjected to. The second instrument involved the application of a multiple-choice vocabulary post-test mechanism; the purpose of this instrument was to assess the student’s knowledge on vocabulary prior to the conditions they participated. Consequently, Khoii and Sharififar applied a third instrument that basically involved administration of a post-test to assess the efficacy of cognitive strategy application on improving vocabulary knowledge among the students/participants. In this instrument, 40 items, composed of 300 words. In order to ensure that the quality of the study is not compromised by student’s preparation for the tests, the proficiency tests were administered at a time when all the participants were unaware. This research can be considered pedagogical in nature as it entails teaching methods. In addition, it is a cognitive approach to a study taking into consideration the fact that it engages the participants through mental processes of answering questions.
The results of the study indicates that rote memorization, a cognitive strategy considered out-dated and semantic mapping, which is c cognitive strategy considered more effective as it is thought-oriented did not produce statistically important variations in relation to participants’ knowledge on vocabulary when compared to each other. Khoii and Sharififar concludes that despite the fact that convictions are quite high among scholars regarding the efficacy of contextualized vocabulary learning, their study did not indicate any significant change in relation to application of semantic strategy compared to rote memorization. They assert that the results are valid considering the fact that all conditions for the study remained constant i.e. the learners were not aware of the of the specific time when the test was to be conducted, thus there is no doubt that participants involved in both groups underrated the purpose of this research. Additionally, Khoii and Sharififar, base the validity of their findings on the fact that the research was conducted in Iran where a majority of the students are offered learning systems in a more or less memorized oriented. In this aspect, they conclude that rote memorization has been a more efficient and effective strategy to the students compared to semantic mapping. In addition, they base the validity of this result on the fact that it is not shallow approach as indicated by researchers like Laufer. In their conclusion, Khoii and Sharififar asserts that cognitive learning strategies, mostly semantic mapping on L2 learners are usually characterized by various challenges including: The amount of time students allocate to pay attention to classroom activities, the level of their engagement in classroom discussions as well as their personal strategies towards vocabulary acquisition and learning processes. The findings of this study also indicate that the amount of task-induced involvement does not a significant impact on the capacities of students to retain new words/vocabulary. This is based on the fact the cognitive strategy, rote memorization that was applied in the study is a strategy that is mainly performed out of class and appears to demand low levels of student involvement compared to semantic mapping where students are engaged in vigorous classroom activities under their teacher’s guidance. Khoii and Shafifar place emphasis on the fact that their research was not meant to underrate the application of rote memorization, but rather assess whether it is a cognitive strategy that can be applied in the future learning environments.
In summary, the study indicates that the results gathered should be of paramount importance to English learning teachers who are in need of effective language learning strategies that enhances students’ knowledge on vocabulary within a short period of time. The study also concludes that the use of concept maps as a mode of cognitive study did not indicate any incidence of superiority compared to rote memorization in a learning context where students are subjected to memorization-oriented modes of learning. As such Khoii and Shafifar emphasizes on the importance of incorporating various learning strategies through an investigation of learner’s environment and other surrounding factors such as; learning in foreign countries. Consequently, the Khoii and Shafifar teachers in relation to interpretations that may be directed towards their results; the caution is based on the fact that teachers of the two experimental groups were different and each of the new words used appeared in one word entry list, hence some new words may not have been understood by the students . Lastly, they caution teachers, indicating that the fact that the participants of the study are used to memorization strategy as a means of learning, it might have enhanced their capacities to respond to some of the study questions.
Khoii, R and. S. Sharififar. 2013. ‘Memorization versus semantic mapping in L2 vocabulary Acquisition’. ELT journal, 67/2: 199-209.
Brown, T. and F. Perry. 1991. ‘A comparison of three learning strategies for ESL vocabulary acquisition’. TESOL Quarterly 25/4: 655–70.
Laufer, B. and N. Girsai. 2008. ‘Form-focused instruction in second language vocabulary learning: a case for contrastive analysis and translation’. Applied Linguistics 29/4
Macaro, E. 2006. ‘Strategies for language learning and for language use: revising the theoretical framework’. The Modern Language Journal 90/3: 320–37.
Morin, R. and J. Goebel. 2001. ‘Basic vocabulary instruction: teaching strategies or words?’ Foreign Language Annals 34/1: 8–16.
Nation, P. 2002. ‘Best practice in vocabulary teaching and learning’ in J. C. Richards and W. A. Renandya (eds.). Methodology in Language
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