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ERIC Number: EJ1127417
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Jul
Pages: 20
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-2322-1291
The Effect of Task Complexity on the Quality of EFL Learners' Argumentative Writing
Sadeghi, Karim; Mosalli, Zahra
Iranian Journal of Language Teaching Research, v1 n2 p115-134 Jul 2013
Based on Robinson's (2005) Cognition Hypothesis and Skehan and Foster's (2001) Limited Attentional Capacity Model, the current study attempted to investigate the effect of manipulating task complexity on argumentative writing quality in terms of lexical complexity, fluency, grammatical accuracy, and syntactic complexity. Task complexity was manipulated through applying resource-dispersing dimensions. All 60 participants who were university students were randomly assigned into one of the three groups: (a) topic; (b) topic + idea; and (c) topic + idea + discourse marker group. A series of one-way ANOVAs was utilized to detect significant differences among the groups. Results showed that increasing task complexity: (1) did not lead to differences in lexical complexity (measured by the ratio of lexical words to function words and lexical density), but it did lead to significant differences when mean segmental type-token ratio was used to measure lexical complexity; (2) produced significantly less fluent language; (3) resulted in more grammatically accurate language in the least complex task; and (4) did demonstrate significant difference in syntactic complexity (when it was measured by the ratio of dependent clauses to total clauses). Further findings and implications are discussed in the paper.
Urmia University Press. Faculty of Literature and Humanities, Urmia, 165, Iran; Tel: +98-44-32752741; Fax: +98-44-32752746; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Iran
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Test of English as a Foreign Language
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A