The development of statistical literacy in applied linguistics graduate students

Talip Gonulal, Shawn Loewen, Luke Plonsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Statistics play an important role in analyzing data in applied linguistics research. Given the increase over time in the field’s reliance on quantitative analysis (Brown, 2004; Gass, 2009), statistical literacy is critical for both producers and consumers of L2 research. Although there has been some investigation into statistical literacy among applied linguists, no research to date has examined how such literacy is obtained by masters and doctoral students in the field. The present study investigated the development of statistical literacy in a sample of such students taking semester-long discipline-specific quantitative research methods courses. Participants completed a pre-course and post-course survey. The results indicate that participants increased their knowledge of basic descriptive statistics and common inferential statistics to a great extent. Furthermore, participants reported that they felt more confident interpreting and using statistics. Based on these findings, recommendations for improving methodological practices and graduate training in our field are provided.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4-32
Number of pages29
JournalITL - International Journal of Applied Linguistics (Belgium)
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2017


  • L2 research
  • Quantitative research methods
  • Statistical literacy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language


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