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Title: Think-aloud and annotated close : two ways of investigating the processing behaviour and attitudes of close test-takers
Author: Gibson, R. B.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2005
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Following a survey of the history and nature of the cloze test as applied to second-language assessment, the study looks at the role of introspective and verbal-report data in understanding second-language test-taking processes. Particular attention is paid to the verbal report task format known as ‘think-aloud’. The theoretical bases of this procedure are critiqued, and some problematic aspects of its use in the study of linguistic tasks are discussed. Attention is drawn to apparent divergences between the model of think-aloud and its real-world applications. The use of think-aloud in the study of cloze test-taking by German and Japanese first-language informants is discussed, and a number of specific shortcomings identified. These shortcomings lie mainly in the areas of practical sample-size, interpretability and comprehensiveness of data, and negative affective responses on the part of informants. A modification to the ‘classical’ think-aloud is proposed, labelled non-continuous reporting, and the results of this method are compared to those of think-aloud. It is concluded that the advantages of non-continuous reporting outweigh its shortcomings. A further alternative real-time data-gathering procedure is proposed, the so-called ‘annotated cloze’, and its strength and drawbacks discussed. The relative efficiencies of annotated cloze and the two variants of think aloud are examined in terms of their ability to generate a picture of how test-takers process cloze passages, and suggestions are offered regarding optimal use of these task formats in the elicitation of further data.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available