Individualized Categories of Verbal Reports in Classroom Think-Aloud Translation Tasks
Introspection is one of the most popular qualitative research methods in psychology and it consists of asking participants to report verbally on their cognitive and/or emotional states while performing a specific task or activity (Brown & Rodgers, 2002, p. 53). In second language acquisition studies, introspection is frequently used to observe and analyze learners’ mental processes while they are engaged in a language task. This type of research has an interdisciplinary character as it employs data gathering techniques used primarily in social sciences. Such verbal reports, either audio- or video-recorded, are often referred to as think-alouds or talk-alouds (Ericsson & Simon, 1993). The collected data, often quite extensive, must be then analyzed and categorized in order to define learners’ mental and emotional states. Different sets of categories for coding think-alouds have been proposed, for example, monitoring, signaling, elaborating, and reasoning (Brown & Lytle, 1988). This chapter presents an analysis of the recorded set of think-alouds done by secondary-school students during a written translation task from L2 (English) to L1 (Polish). Apart from categories suggested in different coding schemes for verbal protocols, some new categories emerged, for example, abandoning the message, commenting on other students’ work, asking for help, planning for the task, and many others. They reveal a wide spectrum of learners’ emotional states, which may contribute to a better understanding of task demands, classroom interaction patterns, and may allow the broadening of the repertoire of coding categories in the analysis of think-alouds.
KeywordsIntrospection Think-aloud protocols Written verbal reports Translation tasks Coding categories
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