Qualitative research methods in language test development and validation

Anne Lazaraton, Lynda Taylor

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

3 Scopus citations


One of the most important methodological developments over the last fifteen years has been the introduction of qualitative research methodologies to support the design, description, and validation of language tests. Many language testers have come to recognize the limitations of traditional statistical methods for language assessment research, and have come to value these innovative methodologies as a means by which both the assessment process and product may be understood. This chapter introduces readers to several qualitative research methods as they relate to language testing and assessment, namely: Discourse and Conversation Analysis, Observation Checklists and Verbal Protocol Analysis. It focuses specifically on some of the qualitative studies in speaking and writing assessment undertaken by Cambridge ESOL in order to illustrate how outcomes from such investigations can feed directly into operational test development and validation activity. These research methods - together with other qualitative techniques - offer language testers viable solutions for a range of validation tasks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationLanguage Testing Reconsidered
PublisherUniversity of Ottawa Press
Number of pages17
ISBN (Print)9780776606576
StatePublished - Dec 1 2007


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