Preprints are awesome

I haven’t blogged here for a while because I have been busy writing other things, I have several projects on the go at the same time as usual because I hate being bored. Also, new job starting in April! I thought I would take a little time to pour out my thoughts about language teaching research, especially that done by teachers, and why preprint servers are fantastic. This post is aimed at very early career researchers like MA graduates or teachers who want to share findings with the wider research community (hello underrepresented teachers of young learners!)

Preprints are free and they can be updated based on any feedback that you get. You get your research out into the world while you wait for peer review (although check the policy of the journal you are submitting to). If you get feedback, usually through, you can address it quickly and the state of your research is basically much like a blog but you get a DOI for easy citation. This is something I have done with a few projects because I get really frustrated waiting to find out even whether my article has gone out for review.

Another good point about preprints is that if you cannot publish in an open-access journal, or afford to pay an extortionate article processing charge (APC), you can normally put up the preprint version, but check the journal’s policies first.

But Marc, why not just blog it if it isn’t peer reviewed? Well, the point is that it could be peer reviewed. Also, who is going to read an 8,000 word blog post? It would be a massive pain if you wanted to quote a part of it. You can also share your preprints on Research Gate (I virtually-met someone who didn’t know about Research Gate yet). I have 900 reads on there and about 1000 on SocArxiv if I remember right. This is pretty decent, I think.

So, yes, preprinting is great. You might get feedback, you might not, but at least people will be able to find your work.

Zotero resources

It’s been a while since I posted anything here. I finished my MRes, and got a Pass with Merit (to be confirmed, but the numbers in Moodle say so), and I am looking in great detail at doing a PhD.

Regarding the PhD, I’ll need something to support my reading and referencing a bit more. I’ve been learning R and R Markdown, though my knowledge is still a bit basic. Knowing that Zotero references can be plugged straight into R Markdown (apparently) comforts me a lot. Another thing that eases my mind is that you can create ‘Smart Playlists’ like when iTunes wasn’t bloated enough to crash constantly. (FOSS Academic) and that led me into a bit of a Zotero rabbit hole. There I was just happy to import BibTeX or DOIs, and I find, hiding in plain sight, this wonderful manual.

Appearance on the TEFLology Podcast

The TEFLology podcast (one of the hosts is my supervisor at my main job, just to get that out in the open) recently had a couple of episodes recorded live and I was on there for a bit of time in the second part (episode 104). It was really fun, and I am definitely keen on appearing on other people’s podcasts.

New Preprint: English Language Teachers’ Stated Beliefs and Practices Regarding Task-Based Language Teaching and Listening

I put up the preprint of a recent project about teachers’ beliefs about listening and task-based language teaching.

Regular readers of my other blog will know these are particular interests of mine.

I’d like to thank all the participants and please, if you have any feedback, please comment here or on the SocArxiv page below.

Reflection on my MRes Studies

There have been a lot of challenges since beginning my MRes course at University of Portsmouth, even bearing in mind the advice given to me that I should make as many contingency plans as possible. However, what has been most difficult has been planning to overcome myself in the research process. In this blog post I shall outline the natures of challenges faced and overcome. It is not the case that this is some kind of quest, merely that, given the circumstances I vastly overestimated my own abilities to carry out the kind of study that I wished to undertake. What has finally coalesced is, I believe, worthwhile research but not quite the project that I had planned. Below, I outline my learning during the MRes course so far with reference to the Vitae Researcher Development Framework (RDF) (Careers Research and Advisory Centre Ltd., 2011) in bold parentheses.

The pond at Shinjuku Imperial Gardens, Tokyo in Spring 2019. Cherry blossoms are reflected in the pond.

My original proposal was for a quantitative study that relied upon an overly optimistic sample size of volunteer participants. This sample was drawn from a population at my new place of work. Because I was a new instructor in an intensive English programme, I had few free teaching periods available when my students did. Furthermore, I had not Continue reading →

Slides on a Zoom session on Feedback with educators in Japan

The slides for this morning’s Zoom session on feedback are here.


  • We need a balance between general and detailed feedback.
  • Rubrics alone are not seen as useful. Notes on performance outside/beyond the rubric and more detailed feedback is required (NB, maybe not written).
  • Ongoing dialogic feedback, with perhaps a reflective plan of action (say a few bullet points) from students, could be more useful overall in facilitating student engagement with feedback.


A podcast episode with related methodologies by Sascha Stollhans was put out by Dustin Hosseini.