You are on page 1of 10

Copyright © 2000. Routledge. All rights reserved.

May not be reproduced in any form without permission from the publisher, except fair uses permitted under U.S. or applicable copyright

Characterization of Stimulated Recall
In this chapter the stimulated recall procedure is described in detail and contextualized through a review of
studies that use it. In the first part of the chapter we present descriptions of studies that have been carried out
in a variety of areas of L2 research using different implementations of stimulated recall. These studies have
been selected to illustrate a range of topics that can be successfully investigated using stimulated recall.
These descriptions include studies in the area of oral interaction, both comprehension and production, and
examples from classroom-based, qualitative and experimental research; studies in the areas of acceptability
judgments, reading, and vocabulary learning; and studies in different types of L2 writing research.
Throughout the remainder of the book we refer back to some of these published studies for concrete
examples of many of the constructs we discuss in relation to the stimulated recall procedure. In the final parts
of the chapter, we focus on the recall procedure itself, outlining various methods for providing support for the
recall. Issues of timing (e.g., how much intervening time occurs between the initial event and the recall of the
event) are discussed. Finally, we summarize some typical events that have been subject to investigation using
stimulated recalls in the L2 literature.

As discussed in chapters 1 and 2, stimulated recall is used primarily in an attempt to explore learners’ thought
processes and strategies by asking learners to reflect on their thoughts after they have carried out a
predetermined activity. Simulated recall is carried out with some degree of support, for example, showing a
videotape to learners so that they can watch themselves carrying out an activity while they vocalize their
thought processes at the time of the original activity.
Oral Interaction Research

Perceptions of Comprehension

The first example presented is taken from an early study in the area of oral interaction by Hawkins (1985).
The purpose of Hawkins’ study was to determine whether replies in non-native speaker discourse, which on
the surface appeared to be appropriate conversational responses, did in fact represent comprehension of what
had preceded in the discourse. To accomplish this goal, Hawkins utilized stimulated recall methodology. Two
dyads of adult participants, each dyad consisting of a native speaker of Spanish and a native speaker of
English, carried out four communicative tasks in English. The tasks were designed so that both the
non-native speakers and the native speakers would be in possession of information needed by the partner to
complete the task. One task was the popular English as a second language (ESL) ‘grab bag’ game, which
consisted of one participant removing and then describing objects from a bag containing common objects
(e.g., a plastic knife, a key, a piece of chewing gum). The other participant asked questions about the object
in an effort to guess what the object was. The interactions were tape recorded. The tapes of the task-based
interaction were played back to the participants, who were asked to “stop the recorder at any time and
comment on what you were thinking at that point in the conversation” (Hawkins, 1985, p. 165). Additionally,
Hawkins stated, “The investigator also felt free to stop the recorder and ask questions of the subjects if the
subjects themselves did not stop the recorder” (p. 165). The stimulated recall was conducted in each
participant’s native language.

Experimental Research.
EBSCO Publishing : eBook Collection (EBSCOhost) - printed on 8/7/2016 3:08 AM via PRINCE OF SONGKLA UNIV
AN: 45413 ; Gass, Susan M., Mackey, Alison.; Stimulated Recall Methodology in Second Language Research
Account: s3150751


English. both participants came to the interaction with clear motivation for their interaction to proceed smoothly. Mackey. The videotape was rewound and played for the learner by a second researcher (an English speaker for the ESL group and Italian speaker for the Italian group) who discussed the stimulated recall procedure. basing her choices on the predetermined list. This session lasted for approximately 15–20 minutes and was videotaped. During the interaction. English.tional graduate student tutors offered free tutoring. enrolled in an introductory computer programming class. The participants were asked to stop the videotape at any time and comment on anything that made them uncomfortable or confused. May not be reproduced in any form without permission from the publisher. Each of these native speakers compiled a list of signs of interlocutors’ discomfort. both participants independently complained to the supervisor about the other’s uncooperative attitude. Qualitative Research And finally. the English-and Italian-speaking researchers1 provided different types of implicit negative feedback when the participants produced a non-targetlike utterance. except fair uses permitted under U. stimulated recall methodology was employed by the ESL course designers to improve the language skills of their tutors. The student went to the tutoring session for help with an assignment. who were both involved with the ESL program. The tutor had received a score of 235 out of a possible 300 on the SPEAK test a short time before the study. These recall sessions were audiotaped. each one with one of the participants and the researcher present. The task was for the two interlocutors to describe the pictures to each other in order to identify the areas of difference.S. These stimulated EBSCO Publishing : eBook Collection (EBSCOhost) .Copyright © 2000. As Tyler pointed out. along with the original tutoring session videotape. A combination of these two lists was then used as a guide during the stimulated recall sessions. and McDonough (in press) conducted a study of oral language use to investigate the accuracy of learners’ perceptions of native speaker feedback. Susan M. for her research into the sources of miscommunication in interaction. the participants were told that they could pause the tape at any time if they wished to describe their thoughts at any particular point in the interaction. as well as challenges by the student and refusals by the tutor to provide requested information. at the end of the session. The stimulated recall sessions were conducted immediately after completion of the task-based activity. the videotape of the tutor-student interaction was viewed independently by two native speakers of U. Routledge. When she stopped the tape she asked the participant to comment on what was going on. suggesting that he had some problems with grammar and pronunciation but was generally comprehensible. and these tutoring sessions were always videotaped and reviewed with ESL instructors to improve the tutor’s English communication skills.. this stimulated recall procedure was aimed at eliciting learners’ perceptions about the feedback episodes at the time when the interaction was in progress. While watching the videotape. Gass. However. As a part of their university training. The pictures were similar although not identical. Before the stimulated recall was carried out. These problems were the focus of Tyler’s study.S. Gass. The researcher also paused the tape after episodes where feedback was provided and asked the learner to recall his or her thoughts at the time when the original interaction was going on. and this stimulated recall interview was utilized by Tyler. interna. Alison.. Because various studies have shown that excessive corrective feedback can lead to dysfluencies (Aston. Tyler (1995) examined a tutoring session between a male native speaker of Korean who was a graduate student in Computer and Information Science and a female native speaker of U. All rights reserved. The database consisted of two groups: learners of English as a second language and learners of Italian as a foreign language. As discussed previously. not all non-targetlike utterances received feedback. The researcher also stopped the tape at other points. Each participant carried out a task-based activity in which the native speaker and the learner both had a picture. 1986). Mackey. Stimulated Recall Methodology in Second Language Research Account: s3150751 28 .S. including phenomena such as overlap and volume changes. we turn to a more qualitative usage of stimulated recall methodology. Thus.printed on 8/7/2016 3:08 AM via PRINCE OF SONGKLA UNIV AN: 45413 . There were two sessions. or applicable copyright law.

non-native speakers of English were asked to give acceptability judgments for 30 English sentences. In the first part. Dörnyei and Kormos claimed that over 450 manifestations of problem management were discovered or confirmed through stimulated recall. The answer sheet was as follows: A value of [3] meant that the participants felt that they were 100% certain that their assessment of incorrect was correct. Perhaps because of this. They investigated speakers’ management of problems in L2 communication. illustrating the mechanisms they identified by examples and retrospective comments taken from L2 learner data.printed on 8/7/2016 3:08 AM via PRINCE OF SONGKLA UNIV AN: 45413 . The main purpose of this study was to ascertain the extent to which acceptability judgments are a reliable instrument for gathering second language data. It’s not “maximum” but “minimum” because it’s a room for 40 people While Dörnyei and Kormos used Levelt’s model of speech processing to explain the psycholinguistic mechanisms involved in such repair. see earlier discussion). or applicable copyright law.Copyright © 2000. The recall comments supplied are similar to some of those described by Mackey. In their study. She carried out an in-depth qualitative analysis of the data to explore why the participants had different interpretations of the exchanges. and perceived deficiencies in the interlocutor’s performance. Example 2 from the Dörnyei and Kormos study illustrates a learner’s problem with his or her own output. There were two parts to the study.S. Susan M. Participants were first asked to judge each sentence categorically as to whether they felt it was grammatical or ungrammatical and then were asked to assess the degree of confidence they had in their judgment. on the other hand. recall sessions were audiotaped. Tyler’s research was based on the videotape of the interaction and the audiotape of the stimulated recall sessions. Stimulated Recall Methodology in Second Language Research Account: s3150751 29 . the authors stated clearly that the intent of their study was conceptual. Although the use of stimulated recall is interesting in Dörnyei and Kormos’s study. minimum yes Retrospective Interviewer Comment: Have you started saying ‘maximum’ and what happened then? Retrospective Learner Response: I realized that I was not using the right word. making self-initiated corrections of accidental lapses in one’s own speech: Example 2 (From Dörnyei & Kormos. Gass. a value of [+3] meant that the participants were 100% certain that their EBSCO Publishing : eBook Collection (EBSCOhost) . 1995) model of speech production and distinguished four sources of L2 communication problems: resource deficits. Alison. Acceptability Judgments A study by Gass (1994) illustrates stimulated recall in an investigation of acceptability judgments. 1998) Learner: you have to…er rent it er…fo…35person…uhmm it’s max…minimum. the target of investigation. perceived deficiencies in one’s language ouput. stimulated recall methodology was used to supply the empirical evidence. including 24 sentences with relative clauses. except fair uses permitted under U.. processing time pressure.. and McDonough (in press. although the conceptual frameworks in the two studies are different. Communication Problems Another interesting use of stimulated recall data can be seen in Dörnyei and Kormos (1998). Gass. All rights reserved. The authors described this example as self-corrected error repair. Mackey. 44 Hungarian learners of English were asked to perform three communicative tasks. 1993. They described problem-solving devices in terms of the pre. little information is supplied about the mechanics of the retrospection other than the (footnoted) information that participants were asked to listen to the recordings of their own interactions and to answer questions about and make comments on the difficulties they experienced. Routledge.and post-articulatory phases of speech processing. They based their analysis of coping strategies for these problems on Levelt’s (1989. May not be reproduced in any form without permission from the publisher.

researchers put forward other prompts saying. Gass. A value of 0 meant that they did not know. This task was completed as a think-aloud. “You look puzzled” (p. Both the comprehension and summary tasks yielded immediate retrospective protocols. May not be reproduced in any form without permission from the publisher. In particular.Copyright © 2000. during the think-aloud parts. All rights reserved. a written questionnaire) was used to determine learners’ perceptions of particular vocabulary activities and the extent to which these exercises contributed to their learning of new words. “Why have you put your finger on that word?” or. Questions were posed concerning the difficulty of the task. learners were asked the same questions. or applicable copyright law. learners were asked to summarize each paragraph as they read it. In other work by Paribakht and Wesche (1997). Reading/Vocabulary Paribakht and Wesche (1999) investigated learner strategies and knowledge sources that learners use in dealing with unknown words. Participants were ESL learners who were given a text to read that contained unknown words (as determined by a pretest). Susan M. These data were collected alongside data that measured their productive skills in terms of vocabulary learning. important for their purposes. Following each question that they answered. how the small group conversations related to students’ struggles to adjust to life at this predominantly Anglo. she wanted to assess the webbing of social. that is. Stimulated Recall Methodology in Second Language Research Account: s3150751 30 . In their study. how they had dealt with them. As mentioned. Other values suggested different degrees of certainty or uncertainty. if so. which took place during the actual reading. After they completed the reading task. tell me what you’re thinking” or. they were asked if they had encountered unknown words and. a recall task (in this case. Immediately following each paragraph summary. and linguistic issues in students’ and tutors’ talk about writing (Dyson and Freedman. the interest of the task. “I can see you’re shaking your head. In addition to the regular writing course. they performed a comprehension task and a summary task. The test (with different randomizations) was given to each participant twice with a one-week interval. Gass looked for those responses where the subject had a [+3] at Time 1 and [3] at Time 2 or vice versa. In addition. how they had handled these words. The researcher was interested in the dynamics of the program. they used both concurrent and retrospective think-aloud protocols. Stimulated recall was used with a subset of the participants to uncover reasons why they might have had radically different judgments at the two different times. Answer sheets were coded to determine the amount of consistency between Times 1 and 2. Alison. 1991)—that is. 202). In the second task.. assessment of correct was the correct one. Routledge. the latter are what concern us here. and how tutors’ efforts to provide meaningful support EBSCO Publishing : eBook Collection (EBSCOhost) . middle-class campus. program participants were enrolled in three additional hours of what were called collaborative tutorial groups. Mackey. and..S. The answer sheets of the participants formed the stimulus for the recall. they were asked if they had encountered any unknown words during the reading part of the task and if they had. Paribakht and Wesche also collected delayed retrospective protocols by asking participants questions after they had finished the comprehension and the summary tasks. In the first. Writing Research Tutorial Sessions DiPardo (1994) conducted research within the context of a university adjunct writing program with a large population of non-Anglo students. the purpose of the study was to gain information about the extent to which participants gave similar responses at the two different test administrations. they were asked to answer comprehension questions on a passage they had just read.printed on 8/7/2016 3:08 AM via PRINCE OF SONGKLA UNIV AN: 45413 . They had access to an English dictionary. the words they had worked with and how they had dealt with unknown words. affective. except fair uses permitted under U.

(p.. try to recall what you were thinking at the time. After preliminary questions about the student’s views of the composing process and the views of how the process compared to those of others.Copyright © 2000.. but the student was alone while writing. 169) DiPardo compiled recordings (three audiotaped segments per participant) that she felt were typical of the interactions in the tutorial group sessions that had taken place during the school term. The video cassettes I’m using run for one hour. 26) The monitors were in another room where the researcher could watch them. so after one hour. Written transcripts were also provided. one focused on the pad of paper that a participant was using during the writing process and the second facing the student. try to put your mind back into the task. I’m interested in finding out what you were thinking when you were writing. the researcher and the student sat side by side so that they could view a common monitor. As we watch the tape I’ll be asking you questions about what you were doing. the point of the composing process. interrupt me.printed on 8/7/2016 3:08 AM via PRINCE OF SONGKLA UNIV AN: 45413 . She also allowed participants to make comments. This is not a test. 29–30) In this study. Stimulated Recall Methodology in Second Language Research Account: s3150751 31 . Anytime you remember something. After each segment the researcher asked open-ended questions such as. “Comments?” “What do you have to say about this?” and “What’s your sense of what was going on here?” Writer’s Block Rose (1984) investigated writer’s block during the composing process. There was little consistency apparent across participants concerning the intervening time between the original event and the recall sessions.S.k. DiPardo reminded each participant of the context of each interaction. Before the actual onset of the study. a revision and so forth. Routledge. or applicable copyright law. say it. taping him or her from the waist up. Susan M. and we’ll watch the tape of your essay. related to larger patterns of institutional uncertainty. Before each playback session. I ask only two things of you: (1) Line out rather than scratch out words you write but choose not to use. the researcher explained how the stimulated recall worked. and other expressions of thinking. As you watch your writing unfold. I’ll return. The monitor had a split-screen image (¾ was of the page that the student was writing on and ¼ was the student him or herself). May not be reproduced in any form without permission from the publisher. and smooth flow of writing as well as when he saw blank stares. I’ll audio-record our conversation so I don’t have to divide my attention by taking notes. Participants were given the following instructions: Write this essay as you normally would. stop the tape if you want. quizzical facial expressions. This included refreshing his or her memory about various points in the assignment. The total playback time was 15 minutes. This usually took about five minutes. (2) Don’t rip up any paper you’ve used. These composites served as the prompt. Mackey. (pp. except fair uses permitted under U. He used two video cameras. Composing Process EBSCO Publishing : eBook Collection (EBSCOhost) . a word choice. that’s o. At times I’ll even stop the videotape so we can examine a marginal note. the researcher gave students as much time as necessary to get used to the setting by allowing them time to free-write. (p. and it doesn’t matter at all to me if those thoughts were silly or profound. the researcher stopped the tape when he saw notes. Do whatever you usually do when you sit down to compose a school paper. After the videotaped writing session. The researcher stopped the tape after each segment. If you don’t finish. All rights reserved. Gass. Alison. other marginalia.

their pause time was noted. as an initial step the researcher can create a context for an event to be recalled later. They based their model on three key interpretations in the literature: Ericsson and Simon’s (1980. etc. May not be reproduced in any form without permission from the publisher. with pause times of several seconds used as prompts to probe the students’ thought processes during the writing protocol. and evaluations (Ericsson & Simon. the students were interviewed. During the hour of writing. Their comments were audiotaped. In sum. videocameras were focused on the paper so that the movements of pen and paper were visible. reading passages. At that time. Gass. but data were also gathered from others). and stimulated recall about the DCT and think-aloud. including details about the relation to the action. establishing criteria according to which a range of introspective methods can be classified. Her data collection process consisted of giving participants an article to read followed by a task in which they wrote their opinion about the topic of the article (data from three participants were reported on in her published article. Participants completed a 6-item DCT questionnaire with think-aloud. and Cohen’s (1984. While students were writing. Færch and Kasper’s criteria for classification appear in the next EBSCO Publishing : eBook Collection (EBSCOhost) . second. 47). Bosher (1998) was concerned with the composing process of Southeast Asian students. The participants in her study were 12 Japanese ESL students (all female).? Finally. Her particular focus was differences between students who had graduated from a high school in the United States and those who had completed high school in their home country. planning. Alison. events can include oral interactions. evaluation questions included “What were your alternatives?” and “What else could you have said?” (p. and L2 written products. they were observed on a monitor situated in another room. Pragmatics Robinson (1991) investigated interlanguage pragmatics using a stimulated recall. 1984). a think-aloud session about the DCT. the tapes of their think-alouds were played back “to remind subjects of specific thoughts” (p.S.Copyright © 2000. Susan M. what these studies have shown is that in stimulated recall procedures. or applicable copyright law. As in the examples presented here. the stimulus is a key part of any methodology in which the data collected rely on participants recalling a previous event. 1984) cognitive-psychological model of information processing. Not wishing to reinvent the wheel. Obviously. as was the time when they referred back to the original reading. cognitions. In particular. we have based our classification system on the method put forward by Færch and Kasper (1987) (described in chap. 1987) work on classifying introspective methods in L2 research. paper and pencil tasks. They presented a broad system. 47). followed immediately by a stimulated recall based on their think-aloud protocols.printed on 8/7/2016 3:08 AM via PRINCE OF SONGKLA UNIV AN: 45413 . 2). We now turn to a discussion of some issues surrounding the recall part of the procedure.. Her methodology contained three parts: discourse completion task (DCT). Mackey. and stimulus for the recall. participant training. the description of verbal data used by Huber and Mandl (1982) in the educational and social sciences. Stimulated Recall Methodology in Second Language Research Account: s3150751 32 . CLASSIFICATION OF RECALL SUPPORT In this section we provide information about ways in which various aspects of the stimulated recall procedure can be classified. We have presented examples of events that have been used in L2 research. Some questions that were used to probe specific intentions during the recall session were “What did you intend to say?” and “Why did you say that?” Examples of questions designed to probe cognitions included “What did you notice about the situation?” “What were you paying attention to at that moment?” and “What were you thinking when you said that?” Planning questions included “What did you plan to say? and What did you plan to say first. Routledge.. The recall probes focused on intentions. Of specific concern was the speech act of refusal. All rights reserved. Immediately following the writing session. instrument structure. The writing prompt asked them to write about whether or not second-language students should be required to take competency tests before graduating from high school. The article was from a local newspaper and the topic was of concern to at least some of the students (it was about recent school district requirements that students would have to pass competency tests to graduate from high school and the impact that this new requirement would have on the Southeast Asian community). except fair uses permitted under U.

or applicable copyright law. we show exactly how their model applies in the context of the collection of stimulated recall data. Stimulated Recall Methodology in Second Language Research Account: s3150751 33 .. We conclude with recommendations about the procedure itself. 3. Alison. we focus on the recall support needed. two additional categories were noted: object of introspection and modality.Copyright © 2000. There is no concrete situation or action that they are asked to focus on.S. see also chap. learners might be asked to recall general tendencies in their behaviors. Gass. All rights reserved. Færch and Kasper’s classification scheme is frequently used in much of the literature in L2 studies using stimulated recall.1. Relationship to Specific Action In chapter 2. We focus on the recall support aspects of their model. In addition we present an extension of their model. Færch and Kasper (1987) As we noted in chapter 2. our discussion of classification schemes begins with the attempt to identify the cognitive information that is the focus of the recall. In the adaptation in Fig. where we initially presented Færch and Kasper’s (1987) model. Susan M. rather.. except fair uses permitted under U.g. 1). Cohen’s self-report. In the examples given in section 2. there is less specificity in the recall. Routledge. Mackey. We present a revision and extension of their model that applies directly to verbal protocols obtained through stimulated recall methodology. but rather they are asked to abstract to their thought processes in general. If the cognitive information to be recalled is not related to a concrete action.printed on 8/7/2016 3:08 AM via PRINCE OF SONGKLA UNIV AN: 45413 . In each categorization. situating many of the classificatory terms on a scale and illustrating each term with reference to recent L2 studies also situated on the scale. such as their strategy use in the previous few days (e.. we also present illustrations for our revised model based on recent L2 studies that utilized stimulated recall methodology. in terms of whether or not it is related to a specific action. May not be reproduced in any form without permission from the publisher. concrete actions that were the focus of recalls can be seen in the L2 writing examples and in the task-based interaction. In this section we are concerned not so much with what introspection is used for nor the modality of use. section. For example. EBSCO Publishing : eBook Collection (EBSCOhost) . Thus.

and the efficacy of the support in overcoming any delay are all key issues.printed on 8/7/2016 3:08 AM via PRINCE OF SONGKLA UNIV AN: 45413 .1. The length of the time period that elapses between the event and the recall. Mackey. or applicable copyright law. 1987). many researchers have argued that information in memory structures by stimulated recall are still available for access (Ericsson & Simon. With immediate (sometimes known as consecutive) retrospection. May not be reproduced in any form without permission from the publisher. 3. Stimulated Recall Methodology in Second Language Research Account: s3150751 34 . which has little or no gap..S. Temporal Relationship to Action What Færch and Kasper termed temporal relationship to action is also important when classifying stimulated recall methods. except fair uses permitted under U. All rights reserved. Routledge. FIG. what sort of memory structures are being accessed.. Alison. Adaptation of classification scheme from Færch and Kasper (1987).Copyright © 2000. As they noted: EBSCO Publishing : eBook Collection (EBSCOhost) . Susan M. Gass.

the subject will have the necessary retrieval cues in STM after a general instruction is given “to report everything you can remember about your thoughts during the last problem”..” In these cases. 40–41) Longer periods of time.. or think-alouds.Copyright © 2000. and are asked to send at least one message a week to a researcher. 1996) claim that participant training does not affect the validity of the EBSCO Publishing : eBook Collection (EBSCOhost) . researchers should take care in making claims and should spell out potential problems with validity when data are based on delayed or weak stimulus recalls. Nonrecent Recall Example: L2 Strategies. one class of participants is divided into groups of successful and less successful students. After the straight comprehension questions. however brief. speculating on the ways in which they are learning vocabulary during the current semester. are more difficult to carry out without training than stimulated recall procedures. as opposed to the previous semester. Alison. Figure 3. First. participants are interviewed about the changes they made. When asked to vocalize their thoughts during a problem-solving task. recalls also exist as delayed recalls. Ericsson and Simon (1987. However.2 illustrates this temporal relation to action. delays of 3 hours to 3 days may result in similar data. Of course. (pp. Gass. 1954) have also pointed out that the majority of loss of memory may occur almost immediately after the event. using the initial and final written products as stimuli. often lead to controversy in terms of what is being accessed and what claims are being made by the researcher. Examples of consecutive. In this particular case. We also need to consider that on-line recalls. except fair uses permitted under U. 3. This form of retrospective verbal report should give us the closest approximation to the actual memory structures. in this classification scheme our focus is on training as opposed to instructions. participants are given a list of questions about their comprehension of the passage. They are asked to take the questions home and bring their answers in the next day. All rights reserved. Adequate direction is often needed to keep participants on track and in the “there and then” as opposed to the “here and now” (see chap.S. FIG. After reading a passage in the L2. Delayed Recall Example: L2 Reading. Our model predicts that retrospective reports on the immediately preceding cognitive activity can be accessed and specified without the experimenter having to provide the subject with specific information about what to retrieve. There seems to be a lack of consensus in the literature on the topic of training. 4 for more information on temporal location). write in a language diary about your experiences in class over the last week” or “In this exit interview please tell us about your feelings about the language program from which you have just graduated. Mackey. These students are given email accounts. Of course. Stimulated recall procedures are generally easier to follow. the effect of the instructions and on-going questioning is important. Participant Training When we consider the degree of support offered for the stimulus in a delayed recall. although. participants are generally provided with some form of instructions. as in diary studies or exit interviews. 1993. Immediately after finishing revisions on an essay draft. they are asked to write about particular difficulties they may have had with the passage. we must also explore how well the Types of Stimulated Recall Consecutive Recall Example: L2 Writing. the recency effect argument put forward by Cohen (1987) is probably operating in its weak form. Stimulated Recall Methodology in Second Language Research Account: s3150751 35 . in many if not most experiments. instructions and training need to be distinguished. Obviously. Routledge. and how they overcame them. participants are trained at interacting with the stimulus. In these cases the stimulus is often rather weak: “On Fridays. After taking a placement test in the middle of the instructional year.printed on 8/7/2016 3:08 AM via PRINCE OF SONGKLA UNIV AN: 45413 . delayed and nonrecent recalls. even when the recall support is very strong. Susan M. or applicable copyright law. many people need some practice as well as a model to follow. thus. May not be reproduced in any form without permission from the publisher. as discussed later in this book. Cohen and others (Bloom.2. While both are clearly important.

The remote control was set on the table between the two individuals. when considering stimuli. we have categorized these issues in terms of those initiated by the learner. Alison. to low structure. The training effect and the effect of memory interference on the recall data are both important issues that should not be underestimated and should be the focus of methodological investigation. Empirical research is still needed to address this issue. priming studies in the psychology literature have shown that participants’ verbalizations can be affected by a number of factors in the preceding input. The learner-initiated replays represented only about 10% of all the replays. The researchers chose certain segments for replay because they contained implicit negative feedback. Audiotapes. & McDonough. the more structured it becomes. Stimulus for Recall The purpose of the stimulus is to reactivate or refresh recollection of cognitive processes so that they can be accurately recalled and verbalized. we must also note that retrospective protocols can be obtained without a stimulus. Procedural Structure In terms of the instrument used for collecting the stimulated recall data. May not be reproduced in any form without permission from the publisher. and how much they verbalize. Conversely.printed on 8/7/2016 3:08 AM via PRINCE OF SONGKLA UNIV AN: 45413 . verbal report and in effect only serves to increase completeness. such as questionnaires with multiple choice items. Routledge.Copyright © 2000. and by both the learner and the researcher. Gass. The more constraints imposed on the recall in terms of time or researcher control over questions. including open interviews not constrained by predetermined researcher questions. Based on Færch and Kasper’s (1987) model. except fair uses permitted under U.S. The learners were initially asked to choose a segment and to pause and replay the videotape to ensure that they knew how to operate the control and to help them feel comfortable doing it. In the L2 context. to be accessed by both the learner and the researcher. Gass. written products. in press). It is often useful to provide learners with models of other-initiated and self-initiated recall support EBSCO Publishing : eBook Collection (EBSCOhost) . of course. regardless of researchers’ intentions. which was the focus of the study. Since we can only speculate about how strong or weak support is for learners. Mackey. by the researcher. particularly when a stimulus with high support is used. 3. when they verbalize. training participants by showing them videotapes of others carrying out the procedure or giving them transcripts or diagrams to view may affect the quality of the report data in many ways. In our study of oral interaction (Mackey. Stimulated Recall Methodology in Second Language Research Account: s3150751 36 . or applicable copyright law. and computer-captured data can all be used as stimuli. For example. Initiation of Questions/Recall Interaction When considering both the recall stimulus and the procedure. Obviously. be affected by cultural factors. videotapes. we put forward a categorization in terms of structure. which may.. Factors that may affect stimulated recall interactions include whether the stimulus is discussed and the recall provided in the L1 or the L2 and individual learner variables. Who selects them? Who interacts with them? As can be seen in Fig. it seems safe to say that participants should be trained if pilot studies have shown that they need such training in order to provide recalls and that the minimum training necessary should be provided to avoid influencing or affecting the subsequently recalled data. we have classified the instrument using a scale that runs from high structure. but the situation was made as equal as possible. Susan M. which was videotapes of learners interacting. All rights reserved. Obviously.1. We argue that in some designs. it is important to think about who initiates the stimulus episodes. In the absence of such detailed empirical work. a high-structure multiple-choice questionnaire becomes lower in structure if open-ended questions are used or if a question such as “anything else to report?” follows the structured question. It is important to be aware that not all participants respond in the same way to the stimulus and to be cautious about claims for strong levels of support.. a low-structure recall procedure allows learners to specify what they verbalize. we need to be particularly vigilant about introducing potentially confounding input variables. we designed the stimulus. many caveats apply in terms of the potential effectiveness of the stimuli.