Introspective Verbal Reports: Think-Alouds and Stimulated Recall

  • Melissa A. BowlesEmail author


Verbal reports (think-alouds and stimulated recalls) have been used in first and second language research for decades by researchers of various theoretical orientations to gather data about learners’ thought processes. Despite their widespread use, there has been controversy surrounding their validity, which hinges on (1) whether verbalizing alters thought processes (reactivity) and (2) whether verbalizations are an accurate reflection of thoughts (veridicality). This chapter provides an overview of the use of verbal reports and synthesizes research that has examined their validity, finding them to be valid, if implemented appropriately. The chapter includes a concise guide to the proper use of verbal reports in language research, from data collection to analysis, concluding with a discussion of the method’s limitations and possible triangulation with other data sources.


Stimulated recall Think-aloud Introspection Reactivity Veridicality 


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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of IllinoisUrbanaUSA

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