A methodological review of qualitative research syntheses in CALL: The state-of-the-art

Sin Wang Chong, Hayo Reinders

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


CALL research, like other sub-fields in applied linguistics, has been dominated by explanatory, quantitative studies which aim to understand the effectiveness of technological innovations. Qualitative research in CALL, on the other hand, has received more attention in recent years, most evidently from the publications of two special issues on qualitative research in CALL by CALICO Journal (2015) and Language Learning & Technology (2018). The inherente strength of qualitative studies in CALL is that they celebrate depth of interpretation by focusing on specific contexts and a small number of participants. Yet this strength can sometimes be perceived as a limitation when transferability and applicability of findings are considered. However, this potential shortcoming can be overcome when findings of multiple studies are meaningfully synthesised, for example, in a qualitative research synthesis (QRS). QRS is a relatively new form of research synthesis in CALL which systematically summarises qualitative findings guided by research questions and a predetermined research protocol. To report current methodological practices and identify areas of strengths and weaknesses, this methodological review analyses the methodological sections of 16 QRS in CALL using a most recent, CALL-based QRS methodological framework comprising seven stages (Chong & Plonsky, 2021). Findings reported include length of methodological sections, implementation of the seven methodological stages, and convergent and divergent methodological practices. Suggestions, especially about qualitative data extraction and synthesis, are made in light of the findings.
Original languageEnglish
Article number102646
Early online date17 Sep 2021
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


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