Reviewing the potential of the Experience Sampling Method (ESM) for capturing second language exposure and use

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Frequent language exposure and use are among the most important conditions for successful language learning whether in classrooms, during study abroad, or in other informal contexts. Research probing exposure and usage often relies on one-off self-report questionnaires in which participants estimate their typical level of language exposure over extended periods of time, often long after it occurred. This may negatively affect the validity of the resulting data. This paper instead explores the potential of methods used in medical and psychological research, variably known as the ‘Experience Sampling Method’ (ESM; Csíkszentimihályi and Larson, 1987), ‘Ecological Momentary Assessment’ (EMA; Stone and Shiffman, 1994), or ‘diary methods’ (Bolger et al., 2003). These methods are often combined with electronic and mobile survey applications to elicit self-report assessments at frequent, sometimes randomised intervals. We consider the possibilities of these methods for strengthening research into language exposure and use, second language acquisition more broadly, and study abroad research specifically. The methods have the potential to drastically reduce biases associated with summative recall. Additionally, they enable researchers to collect richer data about how individuals engage with language differently over time, and the contexts in which they do so, thus ultimately contributing to our understanding of individual differences in language acquisition.


Enheter & grupper

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ) – OBLIGATORISK

  • Jämförande språkvetenskap och lingvistik


Antal sidor20
TidskriftSecond Language Research
StatusPublished - 2021 jun 2
Peer review utfördJa


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