RYŪGAKU: Explorations in Study Abroad

Wordle Summary
Title: The effects of a short-term study abroad program on the beliefs of Japanese university students in an int. relations program
Author: Justin Harris
Published: April 2011 (Volume 3, No. 2)
Pages: 2 - 10
Type of Article: mixed method pre/post test design

Methodology

Informants:
  1. 69 first year students in the International Relations department at Kyoto Sangyo University in 2009,
  2. A stratified convenience sample of 5 students from the previous group, and
  3. one coordinator of that program
Instrument(s):
  1. A 16-item questionnaire in Japanese utilizing a 5-point Likert scale,
  2. A 15-minute post-return interview in the respondents' language of choice.
  3. An unspecified interview with the program coordinator
Procedure:
  1. The questionnaire was distributed to student participants 3-weeks before their SA departure and then again within 1 month of their return. Paired-sample t-tests were conducted to ascertain attitude shifts,
  2. A 15-minute post-return interview was conducted in the respondents' language of choice. (Transcription and coding procedures are not specified),
  3. No details regarding the program coordinator interview are provided.

Results

  1. There was no "statistically significant change in student's cross-cultural understanding." (p. 8)
  2. "Although students seem to be displaying less confidence with speaking in front of others [after SA] the interviews suggest that they have a renewed drive to study and to work hard to improve [their L2 skills]." (p. 8)
Validity Issues:
  1. The significance level for the paired-sample t-tests is not specified, nor is the confidence interval or the standard error of the mean.
  2. The pre-departure / post-return effect size (usally measured by Cohen's d) is not specified.
  3. The interview recording and coding procedures are not specified.
  4. Basic descriptive demographic information about respondents is not provided.
  5. The precise contents of the questionnaire is unreported.
  6. The content and format of the program coordinator interview is not specified.
Full Text: Available at http://jalt-sa.org/PDF/Ryuugaku-3(2).pdf

Keywords:

short-term study abroad, L2 confidence, cross-cultural understanding, mixed methods research

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