Educational Sciences: Theory & Practice

ISSN: 2630-5984

Trends in Doctoral Research on English Language Teaching in Turkey

Kemal Sinan Özmen
English Language Teaching Program, Faculty of Education, Gazi University C-Blok C122, Ankara 06500 Turkey
Paşa Tevfik Cephe
English Language Teaching Program, Gazi University C-Blok C122, Ankara 06500 Turkey.
Betül Kınık
English Language Teaching Program, Gazi University C-Blok C122, Ankara 06500 Turkey


This review examines the doctoral research in Turkey completed between 2010 and 2014 in the area of English language teaching and learning. All of the dissertations (N = 137) indexed in the National Theses Database have been included in order to analyze dissertations’ subject areas, research paradigms/ techniques, and research contexts as well as scopes, validity/reliability concerns, and piloting. The subject area categorization is based on a cyclical reading process resulting in three major categories: Teaching English as a foreign language, foreign language teacher education, and second language acquisition. Grant/ funding opportunities, the rate of international students, and certain demographic characteristics of PhD students are also addressed in order to clarify the contextual factors. In addition, detailed sub-subject areas were identified so as to be able to categorize all of the dissertations, and 57 dissertations representing the major subject areas are reviewed briefly to offer a closer look. The examination of the doctoral research reveals, in general, 12 potential problems, divided into two levels –6 macro levels (systemic) and 6 micro (departmental). Macro level problems include the heavy pressure of rapid graduation and international publishing. The present study is expected to provide a holistic portrait of the doctoral dissertations for the programs, supervisors, and students concerned.

Doctoral education, Academic development, Doctoral practices, English Language Teaching, Role of higher education.