Qualitative Approaches to Classroom Research on English-Medium Instruction

  • Sandra Zappa-HollmanEmail author
  • Patricia A. Duff
Reference work entry
Part of the Springer International Handbooks of Education book series (SIHE)


This chapter provides an overview of recent qualitative research in classrooms examining language learning and use in educational contexts where English is a medium of instruction (EMI). After describing the typical features of qualitative research, we identify the kinds of issues that are best addressed through the collection and analysis of qualitative data and provide a list of key principles to guide the design of a qualitative study. We also discuss some of the caveats or challenges to keep in mind, particularly for classroom-based research projects. Three exemplary classroom-based EMI studies are then presented to illustrate how qualitative research has been used in recent research. Using discourse analysis of classroom interaction and other methods, the studies offer insightful contributions to our understanding of the types of tasks, pedagogical approaches, or interactions (between peers or between students and teachers) that are conducive to language development. The chapter concludes with directions for future research.


English-medium instruction (EMI) Content and language integrated learning (CLIL) Classroom research Qualitative research Qualitative classroom research Research paradigms Triangulation Classroom interaction 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Language and Literacy EducationUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada

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