Research

The Language Institute’s research mission is fulfilled by its administration of the Second Language Acquisition (SLA) PhD Program, by small grants to support SLA faculty/student research partnerships, and by studies conducted in the Language Institute itself that have the goal of informing both instructional practice and advocacy efforts. Current and previous research studies in the Language Institute investigate student and alumni perspectives on language learning and study abroad, learning outcomes of language programs, the goals of students and national frameworks such as the Standards for Foreign Language Learning, and research, instructional practices and outcomes of Language Flagship Programs.

Language Institute Studies


Reasons for (Not) Studying a Language at the College Level: An Undergraduate Survey

Year
2019-20

Description
A survey of undergraduates on students’ perceptions of the value of language study, and on their reasons for (not) undertaking or continuing language study at the college level. Conducted with the UW Survey Center.

Research lead
Dianna Murphy

Funding
College of Letters & Science; Departments of African Cultural Studies; French and Italian; German, Nordic, and Slavic; Comparative Literature and Folklore Studies; Spanish and Portuguese; Center for Russia, East Europe, and Central Asian; Center for East Asian Studies; Center for South Asia; Center for Southeast Asian Studies; African Studies Program.


Gender and Race/Ethnicity of U.S. Majors in Languages Other than English

Description
Report on the gender and race/ethnicity of undergraduate students who majored in a language other than English in the United States in 2010-14. Report includes data for foreign languages as a group, as well as for 50 individual programs that had at least one student earn a bachelor’s degree in the language in 2010-14.

Research lead
Dianna Murphy

Research team
Seo Young Lee

Publication
Murphy, D., & Young, S. L. (2019). The Gender and Race or Ethnicity of Majors in Languages and Literatures 0ther than English in the United States, 2010-14. ADFL Bulletin, 45, 2, 43-92.


The Goals of Collegiate Learners and the National Standards for Foreign Language Learning

Year(s)
2009-17

Description
A large-scale, mixed-method study, conducted in collaboration with the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL), to investigate the alignment of postsecondary student goals with the goals of the National Standards for Foreign Language Learning (Standards). The study includes responses from 16,529 students at 11 postsecondary institutions across the United States, with interviews from 200 students at two of these institutions. The first research to examine learner perspectives with regard to the Standards, the study considers (a) whether college students have goals consistent with the Standards, (b) whether they expect to reach these goals during their formal language study, (c) whether these goals and expectations differ for first-year and second-year language students, (d) whether they differ for students of more and less commonly taught languages, (e) whether students understand the Standards and see the five goal areas as interrelated or in terms of hierarchies of priorities, and (f) how the Standards might encourage student reflection, especially regarding the relationships among language, culture, and thought.

Research lead(s)
Sally Magnan
Dianna Murphy
Narek Sahakyan

Student assistants
Shenika Harris
Colleen Hamilton
Nelly Martin
Sandra Elena Terra

Publications
Murphy, D., Sahakyan, N. & Magnan, S. The Goals of Collegiate Learners of Russian and the U.S. Standards for Learning Languages. In E. Dengub, I. Dubinina & J. Merrill, eds. The Art of Teaching Russian. Georgetown University Press, forthcoming in 2019.

Magnan, S., Murphy, D. & Sahakyan, N. (2014). Goals of Collegiate Learners and the Standards for Foreign Language Learning. Modern Language Journal Monograph Series, Volume 98.

Magnan, S., Murphy, D., Sahakyan, N., & Kim, S. (2012). Student Goals, Expectations, and the Standards for Foreign Language LearningForeign Language Annals, 45, 2, 170-192.

Funding
U.S. Department Department of Education, International Research and Studies Program Grant (2009-13)


Exploring the U.S. Language Flagship Program: Professional Competence in a Second Language by Graduation.

Year(s)
2014-16

Description
An edited volume on the history, goals, programmatic and instructional practices, outcomes and impact of federally funded Language Flagship Programs designed to provide opportunities for undergraduate students of any major to achieve a professional level of competence a second language by graduation. Languages prioritized for federal funding in this program are those that are critical to U.S. national security.

Co-Editors and Authors
Dianna Murphy
Karen Evans-Romaine

Student Editorial Assistants
Colleen Hamilton
Melissa Miller

Publications

Murphy, D. & Evans-Romaine, K. (Eds.). (2017). Exploring the U.S. Language Flagship Program: Professional competence in a second language by graduation. Bristol, UK: Multilingual Matters.

Funding
National Security Education Program (2014-16)


Student and Tutor Perceptions of Russian Flagship Tutoring

Year(s)
2012

Description
A small-scale pilot study of student perceptions on the effectiveness of tutoring in the Russian Flagship Program. SLA PhD student Snezhana Zheltoukhova is expanding on this pilot in her dissertation research.

Research team
Dianna Murphy
Karen Evans-Romaine
Snezhana Zheltoukhova

Publication
Murphy, D., Evans-Romaine, K., & Zheltoukhova, S. (2012). Student and Tutor Perceptions of Tutoring in a Russian Flagship Program. Russian Language Journal, 62, 107-127.


The Impact of Study Abroad on the Global Engagement of University Graduates

Year(s)
2010-14

Description
A study on the long-term impact of study abroad on the global engagement of UW-Madison alumni who did and didn’t study abroad as undergraduates. Conducted in collaboration with International Academic Programs and with the support of the UW Alumni Association.

Research team
Sally Magnan
Student assistants
Alice Astarita
Carolina Bailey
Bicho Azevedo
Publication
Murphy, D., Sahakyan, N., Yong-yi, D. & Magnan, S.  The Impact of Study Abroad on the Global Engagement of University Graduates. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, 24, Fall 2014, 1-24.
Funding
University of Wisconsin-Madison Office of the Provost Assessment Grant; International Academic Programs