With a goal of informing both instructional practices and advocacy efforts, current and previous research studies in the Language Institute have investigated student and alumni perspectives on language learning and study abroad, and learning outcomes of language programs. Studies to date include:
Student Perceptions of the Outcomes of Foreign Language Majors (in progress in 2014-15)
A survey-based study to better understand the perspectives of graduating seniors regarding the learning outcomes of foreign language majors.
Postsecondary Student Goals and the National Standards for Foreign Language Learning
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.
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 Learning. Foreign Language Annals, 45, 2, 170-192.
Funding: U.S. Department
Department of Education, International Research and Studies Program Grant (2009-13)
The Impact of Study Abroad on the Global Engagement of University Graduates
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.
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
Perceptions of Tutoring in the Russian Flagship Program
A pilot study on student and tutor perceptions on the effectiveness of tutoring in the Russian Flagship Program.
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.
Reasons Students Enroll in Language Courses
A questionnaire-based study on the reasons that university students enroll in first-second year language courses.
Publication: Murphy, D., Magnan, S., Back, M., & Garrett-Rucks, P. (2009). Reasons Students Take Courses in Less Commonly Taught Languages. Journal of the National Council of Less Commonly Taught Languages, 7, 45-80.