How to Use this Book
The main purpose of this book is to introduce readers to key concepts and research in focal areas of studies in bilingualism.
Wherever possible, we focused on both psychological and sociological explanations of bilingualism.
Although it has not been possible to include all facets of the myriad of issues related to bilingualism,
we have identified seven main areas which we believe are good departure points for readers interested in this area of study.
As with all the books in the Routledge Applied Linguistics Series, this book consists of three sections: Introduction, Extension and Exploration.
The Introduction section (Section A) introduces the key concepts central to each topic and develops the readers understanding of the field by explaining and synthesizing main debates put forward by various researchers.
We attend to this by focusing on the analysis of the methodologies and interpretations of the data and research.
We believe that careful understanding of the research is necessary before readers can make informed judgments about the research conclusions reached.
Throughout this section, we also include reflective tasks and activities which encourage readers to participate actively in forming opinions about the conceptual definitions introduced.
In the Extension section (Section B), we provide readings for each topic. These readings are either seminal papers which shaped the field, or readings which clarify a critical idea discussed in Section A.
We first present a précis of each reading, contextualizing its significance for the specific topic. In our discussion, we pay attention to the methodology adopted by the researchers and guide readers to draw their own interpretation of the data and discussion.
The readings in Section B allow readers to have a guided approach to a more in depth discussion of each topic and expose them to the research work of significant researchers in the field of bilingualism.
The main purpose of this section is to create an awareness of the research process and to understand how that is related to the research product.
The Exploration Section (Section C) contains a series of research activities which range from guided exploratory tasks to tasks which require more independent research skills.
The tasks are set at different levels of challenge so that readers can gain confidence by attempting the easier and more guided tasks before attempting tasks which require them to develop their own research designs.
Generally, the activities in this section require readers to participate actively in research by gathering data on their own. Students will have a chance to undertake studies which involve different types of data collection (questionnaires, naturalistic, observational, experimental).
Guidance on conducting research and data collection are provided throughout.
The target audience for this book is upper undergraduate students who already have some basic understanding of linguistics, and postgraduate students and healthcare professionals who would like to have a better understanding of bilingualism.
This book is particularly useful for research students who need to have a better understanding of research methodology and how this relates to theory building.
Bilingualism is a global phenomenon, and consequently we have drawn the case studies which exemplify our discussion from all over the world.
Naturally, we are unable to include all the interesting bilingual experiences and research that have been documented.
If there are specific reports we have omitted and which you feel are critical to our discussion, please write to us and we’ll try to include your suggestions/comments on the companion website to the book.