The Research Manaual: Design and Statistics for Applied Linguistics.
Evelyn Hatch and Anne Lazaraton. New York: Newbury House. 1991.
Review published in Language Learning, 42, 429-432 (1992).
Hatch and Lazaration's Research
Manual is a very useful and needed resource that will benefit students
as well as professionals in applied linguistics. In many ways this book
represents an improvement over Hatch and Farhady's Research Design and
Statistics for Applied Linguistics. Indeed, many sections of the present
work appear to have been taken almost verbatim from Hatch and Farhady.
Nevertheless, this manual is considerably longer and more thorough than
the other. The text is presented in three parts. Happily, the first part
gives exclusive attention to defining research questions, describing data,
and constructing experimental designs. These important areas are discussed
in depth before any discussion of statistics. The second and third parts
describe univariate statistics and statistics used in comparing groups,
The text of each chapter
alternates several times between instruction and exercises. The placement
of exercises interspersed with the text is confusing. Due to their constant
interruption, reading the text, and more importantly, rereading it, is
frustratingly difficult. Sometimes the exercises themselves are confusing.
The answers may be overly obvious, so obvious that readers may overlook
the answer and continue to search for another. The inclusion, in an appendix,
of solutions to these exercises is very helpful.
Each chapter also ends with
a series of activities which involve questions relating to actual studies
done in the field of language learning. These studies are well documented
and generally well described (albeit often very briefly), and they supply
the reader with valuable background in applied linguistics along with their
primary purpose of giving examples of statistical or experimental problems.
The Research Manual
is written in a friendly and chatty style. This "reader freindly" tone
is helpful and should to keep the novice in statistics reader from feeling
intimidated. However, at times the style becomes verbose and is sometimes
trite and even condescending. All of the topics presented are illustrated
with examples which are, appropriately, taken from the field of language
study and language learning. Students will find many of these examples
understandable and meaningful. However, some of the examples of research
from the literature are too complicated, given the point they are trying
to illustrate. That is, if the authors had described properly the particulars
of the research involved, they would have used more space doing so than
in describing the use of the statistical procedure being illustrated. The
result is that many complex and interesting examples are glossed over very
quickly, oversimplified, or incorrectly represented. An example of this
is the discussion of Keenan and Comrie's (1977) noun phrase accessibility
hierarchy in Chpater 14. The authors, in an attempt to illustrate the Chi-square
procedure, define the noun phrase accessibility hierarchy as categorizing
relative clauses that follow subjects, objects, or the objects of a preposition,
etc. They state that "you categorize the relative clauses by position"
(p. 394). This gross oversimplification of the hierarchy is a disservice
to students who may not be acquainted with it, and is totally unacceptable
to those who are.
Another illustration tells
when it might be appropriate to share a z score with a student (p. 199).
The argument is unnecessary. The student would be just as satisfied if
she were told that grades were based on percentages, and she would undoubtedly
understand that explanation better.
There are a number of bothersome
errors than can most likely be blamed on the copy editor, but which are,
nevertheless, frustrating to the reader. One such error is referring the
reader to appendix D, when it should be appendix E (p. 11). Others include
sending the reader to the wrong page for an example in a set of exercises
(p. 197), in another exercise, asking the reader to compute a T score and
then labeling the column z score (p. 203), and retaining the words "align
= center" at the end of a paragraph before a formula (p. 492).
The authors seem to confuse random samples with representative samples.
Although good experimental design would require both, they should not be
This reviewer's major criticism
is that the Research Manual is neither an introductory textbook
nor a reference manual. If the book is intended to be used as a reference
manual, then the intercalation of exercises into the text several times
in each chapter is a hindrance to its use. Exercises would be better placed
at the end of each chapter, or even at the end of the entire text, with
solutions following. Nevertheless, the book does include a very complete
content index, as well as an index of authors and several useful appendices,
including a list of formulas and a list of important journals in applied
linguistics. If, on the other hand, the Research Manual is intended
as a coursebook for a student population, the assumptions regarding those
students experience in the field of applied linguistics are certainly exaggerated.
A great number of the examples given will be of little meaning to a beginning
graduate student, and the brief way in which most are presented diminishes
their illustrative value.
Overall the book is useful
and represents an improvement over Hatch and Farhady work. It explains
more procedures in more depth and makes no assumptions about the amount
of experience readers may have with statistical concepts and terminology.
Lazaraton has written an
excellent 75-page computer supplement that illustrates many of the statistical
procedures described in the Research Manual. This supplement parallels
the main text in its organization, and carefully describes how statistical
procedures can be performed on mainframe computers using readily available
Thomas J. Mathews
Brigham Young University
Hatch, E., & Farhady, H. (1982). Research design and statistics
for applied linguists. Rowley, Massachusetts: Newbury House.
Keenan, E. L. & Comrie, B. (1977). Noun phrase accessibility
and universal grammar. Linguistic Inquiry, 8, 63-99.
Lazaraton, A. (1991). A computer supplement to accompany Hatch and
Lazaraton: The research manual: Design and statistics for applied linguistics.
New York: Newbury House.