Japanese university students' concepts of reading English and Japanese: culturally valid research

  • Gwen Thurston Joy

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


There are two aims of this research. The first is to gain an understanding of Japanese university students' concepts of reading English as a second language. This focuses on what they read, why they read and their attitudes towards reading a first and second language (L1 and L2). The second is to develop and demonstrate the use of a culturally valid approach to research. Aspects relating to all dimensions of research are fully and transparently described to show how culturally valid research was accomplished.

A study of 305 Japanese university students in Tokyo was conducted using questionnaires concerning the frequency of reading Japanese (L1) and English (L2), the students' purposes for reading English in the future and their ideas relating to reading English and Japanese. Supportive interviews with six of the students were also conducted to provide further perspectives. Quantitative data was statistically analysed to identify trends and relationships and qualitative data was coded using categories grounded in the students' responses.

The findings of this study provide a better understanding of many aspects of Japanese university students' concepts of reading and reveal that reading Japanese and English is an integral part of their lives. They also demonstrate the interactive relationship between reading L1 and L2; they provide a possible model of the construct of reading in both L1 and L2; they expand the parameters of the context of reading; and they have potential application to teaching.

Moreover, this study demonstrates the value of using a culturally valid approach and provides an illustrative example of guidelines for conducting research in a culturally valid way that can be applied to research in other contexts.

Date of Award12 Mar 2003
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorC L Morgan (Supervisor)

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