Investigating EFL Coursebook Research in Turkey: Trends in Graduate Theses of the 2001-2013 Period
Meliha R. ŞimşekDepartment of Foreign Languages, University of Health Sciences, Üsküdar, İstanbul 34668 Turkey
Esin DündarDepartment of Foreign Language Education, RA, Anadolu University, Tepebaşı, Eskişehir 26470 Turkey.
The transformation of coursebook publishing into an industrial giant has brought about variety, choice, and difficulty of decision making. As coursebook selection profoundly influences the quality of foreign language instruction in Turkey, it is essential to investigate what kind of instruments are used, which method is followed, what criteria are sought and how relevant parties are affected by its results. Therefore, 54 graduate theses evaluating EFL coursebooks in the 2001-2013 period were taken from the CoHE Thesis Center. The documentary data were subjected to content analysis by using the thesis categorisation form for describing research trends, determining shared evaluative criteria and variable patterns, and providing recommendations for the future. It was revealed that: (i) studies dealing with EFL coursebook evaluations accelerated after MoNE’s program changes, (ii) while not even half were designed with mixed methods research, qualitative theses concentrated on document analysis of coursebooks, (iii) teacher and student views were surveyed by means of similar Likert scales adapted from previous checklists, (iv) other sample groups like parents, administrators, authors, and publishers were either underrepresented or not represented at all, (v) correlational descriptive studies frequently compared teacher and student views against similar categorical variables, (vi) the need for deeper, experimental, and innovative research was completely overlooked and multivariate analyses were never employed, (vii) despite their variety, local coursebooks received more focus but were met with user disapproval due to persistent deficiencies in design, content, methodology, and skills, (viii) whereas global coursebooks were appreciated for their communicative methodology, integrated skills instruction, authenticity, and cultural content, and (ix) instead of exploratory research, they tended to recommend replications with larger or different populations and on different coursebooks.