Title :Reviews a set of four studies on co-speech gesture published in the last ten years and critically evaluate the effectiveness of their chosen research methodology
The review consists of analyses of four articles focusing on the use of speech gestures and their impact on students learning. The first article is of Colletta, Pellenq and Guidetti (2010) which was about age related changes in co-speech gesture and narrative where evidence is being taken from French children and adults. The second article is written by Koumoutsakis et al., (2016) and it is about use of gesture in instruction where evidence is being taken from live and video lessons. The third article which is selected is written by Goodrich and Hudson Kam (2009) and it is about co-speech gesture as input in verb learning. The forth article is of Alibali et al., (2013) and it is about increased learning of students when gestures are used by teachers in an effective manner. It is ensured to select all article which are published in last 10 years. The methodology is one of the most critical aspect about every research study. The rigor of the research could be analysed from the research methods which are selected for completing the research study. Considering this, this report aims to evaluate the research methodology of selected research studies where focus is on examining how effective research questions are answered with the selected methods.
The aim of this study was to test the hypothesis: “As children’s language abilities develop, so may their use of co-speech gesture.” (Colletta, Pellenq and Guidetti, 2010).
The authors argue that latest literature focusing on spontaneous narratives manifested by children belonging to age group 6–11 years while the conversation with adults shows that as the children grow older, specifically from 9 years and more, their co-speech gestures start to show a high level of similarity with their counterparts in the adult group.
How the changes in co-speech gestures with the increase in age of children, in order to assess the similarity between children aged 9 years and older with adults?
The coding process comprised of the transcription and annotation of data was performed using ELAN software.
Statistical analysis was used to conduct analyses and to test the aforementioned hypotheses.
The results from the linguistic analysis showed that adults as compared to children manifested shorter narratives and used less number of cohesion devices. Furthermore, adults used the significantly complex structure of sentences with a higher number of comments, explanations and interpretations in their narrations. The gesture analysis indicates that increase in age as the significant positive relationship with representational gestures.
The discussion and conclusion show that as the age increases the language ability of children enhances. Older children showed longer narratives than younger children but shorter than adults. This implies that as the age increases, the language abilities and use of co-speech gesture also increases and therefore older children show high similarity with adults as compared to younger children.
The main strength of experiment conducted in this study is that it provides unique and first-hand data for the study. The reliability and validity of primary quantitative and qualitative data are higher than secondary data. Furthermore, the study used statistical analysis to analyse data and derive meaningful information to report as results (Denscombe, 2014). Statistical techniques are highly verifiable and therefore add to reliability and validity. In addition, the sample size was clearly defined and statistically adequate (Neuman, 2016). Furthermore, participants included both adults and children in order to clearly show the difference between adults and children as well as the difference between younger and older children. This selection helped the researchers to establish the reliability of their analysis (Bryman, 2015).
The main weakness in the methodological design of this study is that all participants were native French speakers and therefore the results and conclusions cannot be generalised to students other than native French speakers. There is possibility that experiments results will show different findings if the same experiment is conducted on children or adults who are not native French speakers. With respect to generalisability, the selected sample might not be appropriate (De Vaus, 2013). However, in this study all methods and technique adopted by researchers were fully justified using existing literature and therefore, it can be fairly opined that this study is highly reliable and valid.
From the evaluation of methodology, it can be fairly opined that experimental design using quantitative analysis technique is most suitable to test aforementioned hypotheses. It enabled the researchers to have full control over the study and to gather data specifically focusing on the research question. Using different age groups helped the study to show growth in language ability and use of speech gestures during various phases of human life. The effectiveness of selected methodology for this research question can easily be detected and a concrete and effective form of relationship can be observed between them as this method is most commonly adopted method for this type of research studies. Further to this, the application of statistical means for the purpose of analysis in the methodology has enabled the researcher to completed this research without having any room for human error and bias. But as observed, one limitation of the selected methodology is that the selected methodology was specific to French speakers which might be one of the questionable issues for generalising the results. Overall, it can be concluded that the researcher adopted a systematic approach which has helped to ensure rigor in its methods.
The aim of this study of Koumoutsakis et al., (2016) was to investigate whether gestures of teachers have comparable impacts effects in case of 1) face-to-face live instructions and 2) video-based instructions.
The researchers aimed to test a common finding in existing literature that there is a significant impact of gestures made by teachers on the learning of students attending the class.
Although the article does not mention research question separately, yet it can be inferred that the main research question or actual goal was to examine ‘how the gesture effects on learning in the video against live instruction?’
The sample is 122 children from public and private schools where students of 3rd and 4th grade were selected. The study involved 63 children belonging to age group 7–10 years. There were 36 girls and 27 boys with average age 9 years. The majority was Caucasian 64%, followed by Hispanic 18%, Bi-racial 13%, Asian 3%, and Middle Eastern 2%. 32% student belonged public schools and 68% to private schools.
Once participants were identified, the researchers developed two scripts for speech and gesture instructions and speech-only instruction for both live and video feed models. Four experimental conditions as shown in the table below:
The lesson explained to students was about solving the equal-addend equivalence mathematical problems. The students were given instructions using different modalities as summarised in the table above. After instructions session, students were asked to test similar to pre-test and to explain the post-test. The explanations were videotaped.
Statistical tests were used to analyse and compare pre-test and post-test results of the students. Mixed effects logistic regression was employed with the help of lme4 package in the R statistics software.
The results of effects of instruction regarding how to solve standard equal-addends problems has showed that the interplay of modality and medium had no impact on the impact of instruction on learning. Furthermore, change in medium i.e. live or video also had no impact on learning; the impact was positive but not significant.
This shows that change in the medium had no significant impact on learning of students. It implies that a video instruction session was as good as a live instruction session. Furthermore, the study also concludes that impact of teachers’ gestures on instruction was higher in the case of video session as compared to live session. Finally, the authors emphasise the fact that the role of gestures in communication that leads to learning of student is positive.
This study was based on experimental design and strengths and benefits of experimental design have also been discussed. However, Koumoutsakis, et al., (2016) conducted in comparison Colletta, Pellenq, and Guidetti, (2010) a different experiment. This experiment had different modalities and medium which enabled the researchers to compare four different experimental conditions. This shows that the authors fully exploited the main benefit in experimental design that is, the ability to control data collection and align it with aims and objectives of the study.
The main limitation of this study is about small sample size. Although Koumoutsakis, et al., (2016) collected more diversified data in terms of ethnicity, Colletta, Pellenq, and Guidetti, (2010) collected data from different age groups.
Experimental design adopted in this study is highly reliable and valid because this study collected quantitative and objective data. The experimental conditions suitably matched the aim of the study and facilitated researchers to compare the impact of speech only and speech plus gestures conditions. The evaluation of this article has provided implications in terms of making decisions with respect to the live instruction versus streaming of video. The online education is increasingly getting common. It has been deduced from this study that in the absence of any careful examination of process of video by learners, the change to online instruction might unintentionally reduce overall impact of instructions. On the basis of this assessment, it can be suggested that the video lesson designers should not particularly depend on talking heads or voice overs solely for the purpose of communication of the content of the lessons and they should consider to incorporate motions or gestures too.
The whole assessment and findings have contributed towards a growing literature work to show that gestures can potentially advantageous for the purpose of learning and accumulating traditional material of academics. This particular scenario holds true for the children who are developing and for the children who have special needs, such as those children who are suffering from Down syndrome. As far as this aspect is considered, this is worth noticeable that selected study was not performed in laboratory set-up with highly chosen population and team of typical learners. Rather, this study was primarily performed in after-school and schools programs with selected children of diversified backgrounds and also children from public and private schools. All of the lessons were highly controlled and were incorporated with other features and characteristics. On the whole the study was successful and it has revealed many important features for the purpose of future discussion, although there are prospective limitations if they would have catered, this study could have been more realistic and useful. The main focus of the study was to establish boundary lines for gesture effects at point of time when variables are controlled which was not happened in past studies. The strength was the experimental control while level of control was the limitation.
There is an absence of well-constructed research question that could be found in this study and the effectiveness of methodology is similar as it has been shown in the section of strengths of methodology whereas there are potential weaknesses of this study as it is comprised of mathematical analysis only and restricted to certain levels of study in terms of representation of inferred research question.
This research of Goodrich and Hudson Kam (2009) aims to assess the impact of use co-speech gesture by learners to communicate language learning.
There is abundant evidence that indicates that listeners have the ability to benefit from the information contained in a gesture.
Whether the listeners would use the motion information in the gesture to comprehend the novel verb form?
This study had all age groups of children as well as adults as participants. The sample contained ten participants per age group and therefore there were 30 participants in each age group. The age groups were 2-years, 3-ears, and 4-years along with adults 18 years and over. All participants were native English speakers and none of them had hearing problems. The number of male and female was approximately equal (Goodrich and Hudson Kam, 2009).
There were two experiments. In first one, each participant was asked to learn four new intransitive verbs, which were related to new actions that were performed by an unfamiliar toy. It had 4 trials, having different actions and associative verbs, namely, sib, blip, gern, and flim. In the iconic gesture condition (IG), each statement is associated with a specific gesture from which meaning can be inferred by participants for identifying the verb. In the other, gesture condition (OG) (adopted from Bavelas, 1994) was performed by the experimenter but learners could not disambiguate the meaning of verb from it. Lastly, the experimenter used the no-gesture condition (ØG) with her hands in lap during the speech.
The second experiment had a similar task as in Experiment 1, but in this experiment, a verb and a gesture were presented with toys pair, thus each participant had to deal with eight verbs each and selected verbs were dack, gop, tam, and meek.
Statistical analysis techniques such as ANOVA chi-square, etc. were used to analyse the data collected from experiments.
The results of the first experiment showed that participants of IG condition showed different performance as compared to other two conditions. The participants appear to have used meaning contained in a gesture to facilitate interpretation of the novel verb. The evidence was supported by statistical analysis. Furthermore, in the gesture conditions, participants made correct choices in identifying the toy associated with the novel verb. The results of the second experiment showed that under the IG condition the success rate of participants was significantly higher in gesture conditions as compared to others. Overall, the results of both experiments were significantly similar (Goodrich and Kam, 2009).
The study concluded that co-speech gestures might in some cases contain specific information that may correspond to the main message, which is to be conveyed through speech. However, sometimes, gestures have the ability to contain information in a unique manner.
Since the research study of Goodrich and Hudson Kam (2009) was based on experimental design, therefore this section does reiterate the pros and cons; instead, this section compares the design with previous two articles. This strategy also suited the aim of the researcher as the results of first experiments were insufficient to show mapping process. Furthermore, Goodrich and Hudson Kam, (2009) is similar to Colletta, Pellenq, and Guidetti, (2010) in terms of age diversity of the sample but the sample size was smaller as compared to both Colletta, Pellenq, and Guidetti, (2010) and Koumoutsakis et al., (2016).
The main limitation of this study was smaller sample size. Furthermore, the results and conclusions are limited to the verbs and gestures used in the experiments (Neuman, 2016).
Overall it can be fairly opined that although Goodrich and Hudson Kam, (2009) had incorporated two experiments to achieve aims and objectives yet the limitations in the sample imply limitation in the applicability of results and conclusions. However, it can be observed that experiments were designed in accordance with the aims and objectives of the study and thus were effective for the research. It can be concluded that the methodology used in the given scenario and research question was well-formulated however, more verbs could have been added to drive more pragmatic form of outcomes.
The main aim of research study of Alibali et al., (2013) was to assess the effectiveness of gestures used by teachers during instructions to enhance the learning of students.
Various studies focusing on the impact of gesture during instructional sessions and communications have concluded that students’ learning can be enhanced by teachers using gestures as compared to lessons that are delivered without using gestures.
(a) Whether the enhanced-gesture lesson would lead to differences in the teacher’s gestural behaviour?
(b) Whether the enhanced-gesture lesson would lead to greater student learning than a baseline lesson or not?
The study selected four mathematics teachers and provided them specific material with graphs and equation to deliver a lecture on slope and intercept. There were 42 students belonging to seventh grade in which there were 20 boys and 22 girls. All students were recruited from the public school district in the Midwestern United States. There were 25 Caucasian, 6 Asian, 4 African-American, 1 Native American, 2 Hispanic, and 4 multiethnic students. 1-4 students were randomly assigned to each lecture.
All teachers were asked to deliver four lectures to a small group of 2 to 4 students. The first two lessons delivered by teachers were before providing a tutorial to teachers about using effective gestures during the lecture. These lectures were used a baseline gestures or the normal use of gestures b the teachers. The researcher then provided a tutorial to teachers about effective gestures that can link ideas with gestures. The teachers then delivered two more lectures using the lessons learnt from the tutorial. The third and fourth lectures of all teachers were used as enhanced gesture lessons. The researcher then paired one lecture from baseline condition to one lecture from enhanced-gesture condition. All of the lectures were videotaped. Finally, the learning of students was analysed using an eight-item test before and after assigned lesson.
Statistical techniques such as Wilcoxon signed-ranks test were used to analyse quantitative data collected in the study.
The results also show that the scores of slope and intercept had a strong correlation (with r=0.78 in pre-test), but the majority of the students higher for one concept and lower in the other. In the case of slope concept, there were comparable gains in pre-test to post-test by the students who attended lectures in enhanced-gesture condition as compared to students who attended lectures in baseline conditions (Alibali, et al., 2013).
The study concludes that there is a significant impact of communication of teachers on linking ideas with concepts and gestures and this can enhance learning among students in mathematics lessons.
Alibali, et al., (2013) was also based on experimental design; however, the main difference is that the main tool in this experiment was on teachers instead of students. Although this study also compares and bases results on the scores shown by students in assignments before and after tutorial for teachers, yet the tutorial was delivered to teachers and they responded back with implementing new gestures during lectures. Thus this study is different with previous articles in this regard. The strength of this research’s methodology is that everything is explained in a systematic manner. The discussion on all relevant aspects about methods, make its methodology well organised and more rigorous. Authors have even presented the coding process in a detailed manner which has made it easier for readers to understand how these results are found. Further to this, discussion on reliability of data is also part of methodology.
The sample size in this experiment was extremely low. Only four teachers were selected and each delivered four lectures among which various were rejected due to various reasons explained in the study (Bryman, 2015). So it can be said that main weakness of this study is that it is based on a very limited sample. The results are based on analysis of one pair of lectures and only one teacher, which limits the applicability of the conclusions. Though experiment was being conducted on 4 preservice teachers, but only one teacher (who was male) is used for further consideration. All others were excluded due to unavoidable reasons like poor quality of video and no-show from students who were the learners in this experiment. Despite the fact that the rigorous methodology is being used for analysis where coding process was quite systematic and reliability was ensured, the reliance of this study on one participant has made the findings much questionable.
The experimental design and data collection method used in the study was helpful in achieving aims and objectives of the study. The researchers were able to analyse data to assess the effectiveness. This particular research suggests that the communication of teacher about the links among presented ideas can potentially impact the learning of student from instruction of mathematics. In this particular study, the teacher increased the frequency to which he applied different modes of gestures by which he could possibly express the target that is linked with multi-modally and the teacher increased the frequency of simultaneous gestures for all ideas. With the help of experiment as the research design, it is found that all of these alterations in gesture behavior of teacher were associated highly with greater gains in learning of student about y-intercept. With the help of analysis of transcripts of videos recorded, it has been further observed that there was not any corresponding difference in total links numbers or in the rate of speech or in fluency of speech. If all of these results are taken together, these compiled data suggest that the gestural communication of the teacher about presence of links between ideas can potentially affect the volume of learning of the student. Comparatively, well represented and structured research questions were observed in this study. The applied methodology was quite comprehensive and was observed useful to portray the correct meanings of the research questions by developing a connection between them. Overall, it could be said that methodology section has presented the experiment method, coding process and analysis technique in a comprehensive manner which has enabled the readers to examine how the results are actually find out. However, it could not be ignored that the result could have been diversified if more participants were added in this particular study.
This review has considered four articles which were published in last 10 years and were related to the co-speech gestures. The purpose of this review was to critically evaluate the research methods which are selected by the respective authors of the selected research studies. In the first research study, different co-speech gesture in different ages were considered and using experiments it was identified that there is a positive relation between age and gestures presented. Secondly, gesture in speech analysis was done considering the video lesson. For the input verb learning, the experiments were conducted using the age brackets of children and it was concluded that children used novel verbs for identifying toy pairs. Finally, the gesture learning of teachers was also studied, the sample size was selected for different age, coding was done and signed-ranks test was applied. Findings showed that effective use of gesture by teachers have positive learning impact on students. After reviewing four studies, it is concluded that not every research method is appropriate for all research studies. There is no best or worst method and every method has certain strengths and weaknesses; it is up to the researcher to select those methods which could help to achieve the research aim and objectives in an effective manner.
Alibali, M.W., Young, A.G., Crooks, N.M., Yeo, A., Wolfgram, M.S., Ledesma, I.M., Nathan, M.J., Church, R.B. and Knuth, E.J., 2013. Students learn more when their teacher has learned to gesture effectively. Gesture, 13(2), pp.210-233.
Bavelas, J.B., 1994. Gestures as part of speech: Methodological implications. Research on language and social interaction, 27(3), pp.201-221.
Bryman, A., 2015. Social research methods. Oxford university press.
Colletta, J.M., Pellenq, C. and Guidetti, M., 2010. Age-related changes in co-speech gesture and narrative: Evidence from French children and adults. Speech Communication, 52(6), pp.565-576.
De Vaus, D., 2013. Surveys in social research. Routledge.
Denscombe, M., 2014. The good research guide: for small-scale social research projects. McGraw-Hill Education (UK).
Goodrich, W. and Hudson Kam, C.L., 2009. Co?speech gesture as input in verb learning. Developmental science, 12(1), pp.81-87.
Koumoutsakis, T., Church, R.B., Alibali, M.W., Singer, M. and Ayman-Nolley, S., 2016. Gesture in instruction: Evidence from live and video lessons. Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, 40(4), pp.301-315.
Neuman, W.L., 2016. Understanding research. Pearson.
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