Trends in Doctoral Research on English Language Teaching in Turkey
Year: 2016 Vol: 16 Number: 5
This review examines the doctoral research in Turkey completed between 2010 and 2014 in the area of English language teaching and learning. All of the dissertations (N = 137) indexed in the National Theses Database have been included in order to analyze dissertations’ subject areas, research paradigms/ techniques, and research contexts as well as scopes, validity/reliability concerns, and piloting. The subject area categorization is based on a cyclical reading process resulting in three major categories: Teaching English as a foreign language, foreign language teacher education, and second language acquisition. Grant/ funding opportunities, the rate of international students, and certain demographic characteristics of PhD students are also addressed in order to clarify the contextual factors. In addition, detailed sub-subject areas were identified so as to be able to categorize all of the dissertations, and 57 dissertations representing the major subject areas are reviewed briefly to offer a closer look. The examination of the doctoral research reveals, in general, 12 potential problems, divided into two levels –6 macro levels (systemic) and 6 micro (departmental). Macro level problems include the heavy pressure of rapid graduation and international publishing. The present study is expected to provide a holistic portrait of the doctoral dissertations for the programs, supervisors, and students concerned.