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Recurring research themes and CALL cohesion

Background:  Over the last five to ten years a great deal has been published in CALL. This has included many books & articles in at least four internationally refereed journal articles. There are CALL conferences around the world annually. And yet, to me, CALL seems to be lacking a clear identity and direction. This question has concerned me for some years now and it is reflected in my recent research.

Many articles are still of the show-and-tell-type, or describe software or CALL practices only relevant to a specific context or institution. Further, it is very surprising just how rarely CALL articles refer to previous CALL articles. Are we building on what has gone before, or just describing new technology applications as they arrive on the scene? I am interested in what lasts in CALL, what ideas and practices have value over time and what issues have regularly recurred in the literature (e.g. the computer/teacher/learners’ role, curriculum integration etc.).

Research question:  What research themes, issues can be identified in CALL which recur over time, notwithstanding technological advances?  How best can identification and discussion of these themes and issues bring more cohesion to CALL as a worthy field of academic endeavour?

Suggested methodology/comments:  Content analysis of the CALL literature and electronic CALL forums, plus surveys/interviews with leaders in the field. Discussion of whether the field needs more cohesion, or whether it is fine as it is.

Contact:  Michael Levy   Michael.levy@mailbox.gu.edu.au

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