The Veridicality of Think-Aloud Protocols and the Complementary Roles of Retrospective Verbal Reports: A Study from EFL Writing
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This paper reports on a qualitative study that explored the veridicality (i.e., the completeness and accuracy) of think-aloud protocols (TAPs) in English-as-a-foreign-language (EFL) writing and illustrates how retrospective verbal reports (RVRs) compensated for TAPs in understanding online revision. Forty-three Chinese sophomores, upon writing while thinking aloud, were asked to provide RVRs regarding revisions, and then to reflect on the veridicality of their TAPs. Their reflections were analyzed inductively. Various omissions of think-alouds were revealed, but they were perceived as not serious, and the accuracy of TAPs was stood by. Further evidence concerning the (in)veridicality was found in the RVRs when 516 episodes of RVRs and corresponding TAPs were compared, and the RVRs were found to offer additional information that concerned intermediate processes leading to revisions. Implications for using TAPs and RVRs in and for EFL writing research and classrooms are given.
KeywordsThink-alouds Veridicality Online revision Retrospective verbal reports
This research has received grants from The Ministry of Education, China, as part of its Planned Humanities and Social Sciences Project 19YJA740070. I sincerely thank Dr. Hui-Tzu Min, the Associate Editor, and the two reviewers, especially Reviewer 1, for their insightful comments and earnest help. I hold heartfelt thanks for The University of Auckland, New Zealand, for offering me The Doctoral Scholarship, and Professor Lawrence Jun Zhang and Professor Judy Parr for their supervision. It is my New Zealand years that have laid the foundation for this work.