Quantitative Research Methods, Study Quality, and Outcomes: The Case of Interaction Research

Luke Plonsky, Susan Gass

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

184 Scopus citations


This article constitutes the first empirical assessment of methodological quality in second language acquisition (SLA). We surveyed a corpus of 174 studies (N= 7,951) within the tradition of research on second-language interaction, one of the longest and most influential traditions of inquiry in SLA. Each report was coded for methodological features, statistical analyses, and reporting practices associated with research quality, and the resulting data were examined both cumulatively and over time. The findings indicate not only strengths and weaknesses but a possible relationship between study quality and outcomes; improvements over time and methodological trends are also noted. In addition to providing direction for future research and research practices, the study's findings are discussed and contextualized within the research culture of SLA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)325-366
Number of pages42
JournalLanguage Learning
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2011


  • Effect size
  • Interaction hypothesis
  • Quantitative research methods
  • Reporting practices
  • Study quality
  • Systematic review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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