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A study of Task-related writing performance and its measurements Chen, Huiyuan Yunnan University of Finance and Economics, Yunnan, China
The guiding research questions u Whether different types of L 2 writing tasks and conditions will affect the linguistic performance of Chinese EFL learners. And if so, in what way and why. u What linguistic features and tendency can we find in learners’ task related performance? u Can qualitative and quantitative method lend support to each other?
The tasks to be studied 1. 2. 3. 4. Topic writing (TW) Picture writing (PW) Graph writing (GW) Summary writing (SW)
The control of time condition u 30 minutes -- group A u 50 minutes -- group B
Accuracy measures u The ratio of error-free s-nodes to the total number of s-nodes (short for EFS/S or just EFS). u The number of errors in each T-unit (E/T). u The percentage of the total number of errors to the total number of words in the written text (E/W).
Complexity measures Syntactic complexity u u Ratio of S-nodes per T-unit (S/T) The number of words per T-unit (W/T). Lexical Variation u u The ratio of different types of words to the total number of words or tokens (type/token or t/t). The number of different types of word divided by the square root of twice the total number of words (t/√ 2 W).
Fluency measures u u u The amount of revision to the total number of words (R/W). The number of words per minute (W/M) The total number of words produced in a written text (Length)
Statistical analyses u A 3 -way multivariate tests with the design of 4 × 2 on 10 measures: to get a general picture of the overall effect. The results in Table 1. u One-way ANOVA to find out the effect of task types and the results in Table 4.
Table 1. Summary of effect of all factors (SPSS)
Table 3. Time effect on the nine dependent variables (t-test, Statistica)
Table 4. Task effect on measures of accuracy, complexity and fluency (one-way ANOVA, SPSS)
Table 5. Means of the 10 measures across four tasks (SPSS)
Summary of the quantitative results u For the aspect of accuracy, SW and PW were ranked higher than the other two tasks u For the aspect of syntactic complexity ( in terms of S/T), SW ranked first and GW the least u For the aspect of lexical complexity, PW and TW ranked higher than SW and GW u For the aspect of fluency (in terms of length and the production of words in time), TW and PW ranked higher than GW and SW. u In terms of the amount of revision, GW ranked the highest
Linguistic features typical of each task TW more unclear, ambiguous or awkward structures and expressions more “global errors”
PW Oral /speech form Exclamation as means of transiting ideas Personification
SW: use of strategies: Combination
Conclusion u Task difference can give rise to different performance in different ways, as a results of task requirement and use of strategies pertinent to tasks u Both quantitative and qualitative approaches are necessary and can be used to add validity to the research results as the results of one method may find support in the other
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