Estadística Aplicada a la Investigación Lingüística (Statistics Applied to Linguistic Research)

Article excerpt

Herrera-Soler, H., Martínez-Arias, R. & Amengual-Pizarro, M. (2011). Estadística aplicada a la investigación lingüística (Statistics Applied to Linguistic Research). Madrid: Editorial EOS. 376 pages. ISBN: 978-84-9727-430-2

As one reads this book two aspects draw our attention: the clear and well-structured text and style of language when addressing people in this topic, which could have been complicated for non-initiated readers, and their mastery to raise and make accessible an issue of such magnitude.

So far, there is still no room in the curricula of Humanities in the Spanish University for a teaching plan which helps researchers to deal with statistics in applied linguistics. Therefore, it is not surprising to see graduates involved in their master or doctorate degree facing no few difficulties if their research has an empirical dimension when they read the required literature or when they have to design their own research. As a result of these needs, the authors have tried to fill in this gap, that most of the times, researchers of applied linguistics or second language acquisitions have. They offer a book which facilitates the access to what is considered basic when doing empirical approaches in the field of linguistics research. They are concerned, first of all, with the understanding of qualitative and quantitative studies and, secondly, with the idea of supplying researchers the basic tools to design and carry out their own research. By doing that, teachers may share their well-founded empirical evidences with other researchers.

Estadística aplicada a la investigación lingüística comprises an introduction, eleven chapters, answers to the proposed activities in each chapters and appendixes, where you will find eight distribution tables covering the tests statistics studied, a glossary, and all formulae needed in case researchers have problem to access any of the Software Statistical Packages. In the introduction, the authors set out the aims of the book as well as the structure of the book, the working method, the structure of each chapter, and finally, the contents of the book, all in an orderly, clear and structured manner, following the pattern of the book.

The book is divided into three large blocks. The first one, which includes chapters 1 and 2, defines what must be taken for granted when dealing with scientific research. Some basic designs are also presented together with the most basic statistical techniques according to the sort the studies we are intended to do. The second block, comprising chapters 3, 4 and 5 focuses on the organization, description, presentation of data, the basic principles for inferences and the formulation of hypotheses. The third block, which is the most extensive and covers from chapter 6 to 11, concentrates on the inferential statistics and discusses the most commonly tests statistic in second language acquisition: parametric tests, non-parametric tests for the comparisons between groups, analysis of variance (ANOVA henceforth), correlation, and linear regression.

Let us go step by step pointing out the most remarkable contributions in each chapter.

In "Linguistic Research", the reader will find very useful information on issues such as: the sort of investigation to be carried out, the research questions, the most suitable strategies for the research intended, definition of variables, samples, data analysis and how to present a report of your research. Finally, the different types of validity and its threats are highlighted. In "Main designs of research and classification of statistical techniques", an introduction to the main designs and statistical techniques that researchers most frequently resort to when dealing with empirical linguistic studies is provided. Concepts such as experimental, quasi-experimental and non-quantitative research are expanded. An introduction to the different statistical techniques either for qualitative and quantitative analysis appears in the appendix of this chapter. …