Research Proposal Critique of “Use of MT in EFL Classes”

Research Proposal Critique of

Use of MT in EFL Classes of Secondary Schools in Jadetabek:

Students and Teachers’ Perception

Reviewed by: Parlindungan Pardede

A. Introduction

Use of MT in EFL Classes of Secondary Schools in Jadetabek: Students and Teachers’ Perception is an ELT research project written by a group researcher of the English Teaching Study Program of the Faculty of Education and Teachers Training of UKI Jakarta. Thus, this proposal is a plan for carrying out an institutional research project. Written in 2013, the proposal consists of 26 pages, including 1 cover page, 1 table of content page, 21 pages of proposal body, and 3 pages of references list. The body is divided into three chapters: Chapter I for Introduction, Chapter II for Literature Review and Conceptual Framework, and Chapter III for Research Methodology.

B. Review

In the following sections, the proposal will be reviewed in terms of the order of its divisions and subdivisions.

1. Title

The proposal title is very well-phrased for it meets the features of a good research proposal title: short and explanatory. Although it is formed by 15 words only, it effectively indicates the three information an ideal title should signify. First, it points out the major issue (variable) to be studied, i.e. the use of mother tongue (first language) in English as a foreign language classes. Secondly, it indicates the nature of research, i.e. descriptive research. Finally, it also reveals the target participants (population), i.e. secondary schools students and teachers in Jadetabek (Jakarta, Depok, Tangerang, Bekasi).

2. Table of Contents

The table of contents is quite simple but informative. It effectively locates each section and major subdivision of the proposal.

3. Background

The background, written in three pages, is very informative and well prepared. It provides proper information about (1) the reasons why the research is important to conduct; (2) what other studies have been conducted in this area; (3) how this research will add to knowledge in this area.

To show why the research is important to conduct, the writers argue that although the use of MT in FL classes is still a controversy, numerous recent researches result tend to confirm that it is unavoidable in SL/FL classrooms, especially when students speak the same MT and when teachers know the MT of their students (p. 2). In addition, more and more studies have been conducted on this issue in various places, but Indonesia very little attention has given specifically to this issue. In order to make this argument convincing, the writers provide the results of relevant studies conducted in various countries, like Macaro’s (2001) study in England, Liu et al’s (2004) study in Korea, Kim & Elder’s (2005) study in New Zealand, Kim Anh’s (2010) study in Vietnam, and many others (pp. 2-3).

To show how this research will add to knowledge in this area, the writers argue that the mother tongue of most teachers and students in the public school is Indonesian, and this makes them apt to resort to Indonesian as a support to survive or to make sense of whatever is going on in the English class. Thus, by getting appropriate amount of empirical data, such as the one to be obtained from this research), English educators in Indonesia will be able to raise their awareness of where they are at present in their use of Indonesian in English classes and to prepare the ground for a more reasoned use of Indonesian in the English classroom (pp. 3-4).

4. Research Problem (s)

The research problem to be addressed in this study is clearly stated, i.e. students and English teachers’ perception towards the use of Indonesian in English classrooms at senior high schools around Jadetabek (p. 4). This problem is then specified into eight relevant questions (pp. 4-5).

5. Research Objectives (Purposes)

The research objectives, which state the intended outcomes from the research to undertake, are specific, clear and to the point. They are relevant and even have the same number (8 items) with the research problems (pp. 5-6).

6. Research Significances

The writers list four advantages for four different parties they expect from the research’s results to undertake, i.e. to English teachers, to teacher educators, to material writers, and to other researchers (p. 6). All of these significances are realistic and consistent with the research objectives.

7. Research Scope

The proposal states the research scope in line with the title. It clearly indicates the exact area of the research (Jadetabek), issue to be studied (the perception of students and English teachers towards the use of Indonesian in English classes at senior high schools). However, the period of time is not included. This is probably due to the placement of this information later in Chapter 3 (p. 20).

8. Literature Review

The literature review indicates that the writers have a good grasp of publications concerning the role and use of mother tongue in ESL/EFL teaching and learning. This section is well presented, because it is not simply a description of what others have but also present a critical discussion and analysis on the various arguments, theories and research findings concerning the issue to be studied. In addition, the works reviewed are quite recent and relevant to the research objectives. Here are two examples for this: (1) the first subheading entitled History of language teaching methods focusing on MT use in FL teaching (p. 8) summarizes and critically discusses the historical background of language teaching methods focusing on the problems to be addressed; (2) the subheading entitled Teachers’ Attitudes towards MT Use in the EFL Classroom (pp. 13-14) effectively synthesizes views and research findings on this topic.

9. Conceptual Framework

The proposal conceptual framework briefly but concisely links the research problems to existing literature and the research objectives by stating that MT can be helpful in most EFL classroom activities, and most current research results tend to support the its judicious and well–planned inclusion. But this issue is not yet been given proper attention in Indonesia. Therefore, carrying out studies on this issue is of high importance (p. 18). However, a good conceptual framework should be able to guide (like a map does) researchers’ inquiry. To fulfill this, a conceptual framework should also contain the research method, instruments, and data analysis, but this proposal does not include these.

10. Hypothesis

This proposal does not include hypothesis because it is a descriptive research which aims to investigate secondary schools students and English teachers’ perception towards the use of Indonesian in English classrooms, not to test hypothesis.

12. Research Method

The research method, qualitative, with explanatory mixed method design, is justified and very relevant to achieve the objectives.

13. Participants

The participants are properly defined, but the sampling technique is not mentioned.

14. Time and Place

Time of the study is properly stated, but the place deserves more detailed description. It might be better if the writers explain the numbers or proportion of teachers and students in each region (Jakarta, Depok, Tangerang, and bekasi) will participate in the study.

15. Data Collection Instrument and Technique

The data collection techniques and instruments are properly described, but the method to test the of questionnaire’s reliability and validity is not mentioned.

16. Data Analysis Technique

The data analysis technique is properly described, and it is relevant with the type of data to be collected.

17. References

This section is quite well-prepared. The referential sources are listed using the APA style. However, some mistyping are found in four entries, such as the word “arabic” and “english” in the second and fourth item in the list.

18. Others

In addition to the items in the sections reviewed above, the grammar, syntax, typography of this proposal are worth commenting. In general the sentences in the proposal are effectively and grammatically constructed. The paragraphs are neatly arranged so that the ideas are easy to grasp. The diction (syntactical aspect) is properly selected. Finally, the typography is carefully prepared. Besides the mistyping in the references section, no other mistyping is found in the proposal.

C. Conclusion

Overall, this proposal is good. However, to make it excellent, it is necessary to include the period of time in the research scope section; to add the research method, instruments, and data analysis in the conceptual framework section; to explain the sampling technique in the participants section; and to describe the method for testing the of questionnaire’s reliability and validity. In addition, since this study involves qualitative data, explanation about data triangulation should also be provided at the end of Chapter III.

The reviewed proposal could be accessed from:

This article was written using Research Proposal Critique Format

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