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ERIC Number: ED512954
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 179
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1092-3888-4
An Explanatory Mixed Methods Study of EFL College Students' Vocabulary Knowledge, Syntactic Knowledge and Reading Comprehension
Chen, Kuang Yu
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, Texas A&M University - Kingsville
Success in reading comprehension is usually seen as fundamental to the academic success of foreign language learners. Many language factors affect second language learners' reading comprehension, such as vocabulary, and syntactic or grammatical knowledge. In practice, vocabulary breadth and depth knowledge can not be discussed separately with regards to reading comprehension. Moreover, while most studies have focused on either the role of vocabulary or syntax separately, few have examined the roles of vocabulary and syntax combined when readers are reading. The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between EFL students' vocabulary and their syntactic knowledge in reading comprehension. In addition, the study examined how EFL students' vocabulary knowledge (breadth and depth) and syntactic knowledge relate to their reading comprehension. To accomplish this purpose, the researcher used an explanatory mixed methods design (Creswell & Plano, 2007) which involved collecting quantitative data as well as qualitative data in order to explain the quantitative data in depth. The quantitative data was collected from the 138 EFL students through Vocabulary Levels Test, Word Associates Tests, Syntactic Knowledge Tests, and Reading Comprehension Tests. The results showed that there is a positive correlation between vocabulary knowledge, as well as syntactic knowledge, in second language reading comprehension. The study found that vocabulary breadth knowledge played a significant role in comprehending the text. In particular, the syntactic knowledge is a powerful predictor of reading comprehension than vocabulary depth knowledge. The qualitative data was collected from eight randomly selected participants. The main purpose of interviewing each participant was to develop a better and deeper understanding of their perspectives of the relationships between their vocabulary knowledge (both breadth and depth), syntactic knowledge, and reading comprehension. The qualitative findings showed that most interviewees agreed that vocabulary breadth played a greater role in their reading comprehension process. Furthermore, interviewees in this study reported the use of similar reading patterns to comprehend the texts. The findings also show that the interviewees who had better language proficiency tended to utilize more literacy skills in interpreting the content of reading passages than did lower language proficiency learners. Finally, based on the findings of this study, some pedagogical implications are recommended, such as teaching learners to analyze word parts (affixes and stems), use context dues, and consult a reference source (Gu & Jonshon, 1996). Moreover, it is recommended instructors place the same emphasis on vocabulary knowledge and syntactic knowledge in second language reading classes. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A