Open Accessible Summaries in Language Studies (OASIS)
OASIS is a publicly available database (oasis-database.org) of accessible summaries of research articles in the fields of language learning, language teaching, and multilingualism. OASIS summaries are a single page only and are written in non-technical language. Each summary provides information about what the study was about, why it is important, what the researcher(s) did, and what the study found. Our aim is to make research findings more accessible to language professionals outside of academia.
Why are accessible summaries necessary?
Language teachers report having limited direct contact with research and research findings despite generally having positive perceptions of research (Borg, 2009). In the UK, Marsden & Kasprowicz (2017) found that while foreign language educators do have some indirect exposure to research through professional organisations, they have very little direct contact with language learning and teaching research. Similarly, in a study with teachers in Canada and Turkey, Nassaji (2012) found that 48% percent of language teachers rarely or never read research articles, even though 79% strongly agreed that knowing about SLA research improves second language teaching.
The main reasons teachers give for having limited interaction with research even if they view it positively are 1) practical limitations – lack of time and access, and 2) conceptual constraints – academic papers can be difficult to read (see also Plavén-Sigray et al., 2017). OASIS therefore aims to make research into language learning, language teaching, and multilingualism both physically and conceptually available to a wide audience.
What does OASIS offer?
The database currently holds over 350 summaries on a wide variety of topics, including vocabulary learning, heritage languages, and the use of CALL to support classroom teaching, to name a few. The bulk of our summaries focus on recent material, but summaries of some classic papers suggested by journal editors, team members, and experts are available too.
Journal involvement and sustainability
14 journals were involved in establishing OASIS. Currently, a number of these are suggesting or encouraging authors of newly accepted papers to write an accessible summary of their work. Importantly, Language Learning, TESOL Quarterly, and the Modern Language Journal are requiring all authors of accepted papers to write an OASIS summary. The support of three of the top journals in language learning and teaching means that we have a steady stream of new summaries, up-to-date content for our users, and a sustainable, author and journal driven practice. We are in discussions with other journals to join the initiative.
We are also pleased to have the support of professional language teaching associations, such as the Association for Language Learning (ALL) in the UK and American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) in the US. In addition to helping us secure funding, these collaborations are enabling us to reach a wide audience, that is they help us to ensure OASIS summaries reach the users they are intended for.
Contributing OASIS summaries
The summaries currently available on our website have been elicited by participating journals or written by the OASIS team. However, anyone can send in OASIS summaries of their peer-reviewed articles published in SSCI indexed journals. If you have published work that is particularly relevant for teachers, teacher educators, parents, policy makers, or other interested parties outside of academia, please consider writing your own OASIS summary. OASIS guidelines and summary writing tips are available on our help page. We are always happy to answer any questions you may have. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stay up to date
OASIS is running a monthly round up email of new summaries. You can sign up at https://tinyurl.com/oasisalerts. Or follow us on twitter @OASIS_Database to learn about new summaries the moment they go live.