How should bilingual experience be measured? What common measures of language experience should be used to allow comparability between studies? To what extent can/should researchers and practitioners (teachers, speech and language therapists) use the same measures to describe the children they work with?
To inform our project, we carried out a Delphi Consensus Survey to seek an answer to these (and many other) questions. This required recruiting a representative group of panellists from across three stakeholder groups (researchers, teachers, speech and language therapists). We therefore invited expressions of interest from:
- Researchers specialising in the study of bilingual or multilingual children;
- Speech and language therapists with a substantial proportion of bi-/multilingual children in their case-load;
- Teachers working with bi-/multilingual children.
We aimed to gather a pool of experts that is as diverse as possible, and as representative as possible within each stakeholder group. The inclusion criteria for panellists were:
- experience working with bilingual children (as a teacher/ SLT/ researcher);
- more than one year of that experience;
- willingness to take part in the two rounds of the Delphi online survey.
What is a Delphi consensus survey?
The Delphi survey method is used across disciplines to reach a consensus on topics where there is little or no full agreement between stakeholders. (For more details on the Delphi methodology, click here. An example of a study which used the Delphi method can be accessed here.)
Outline of our Delphi consensus survey:
- Phase 1 (January 2020): we convened a workshop bringing together experts in bilingualism and language background questionnaires, as well as teachers and speech & language therapists who specialise in working with bilingual children. The aim was to inform the creation of the list of statements to be used in the survey (see phases 2 and 3)
- Phase 2 (April 2020): first round of an anonymous survey, in which the panellists (i.e., a representative group of experts, including you) are asked to evaluate a list of statements
- Phase 3 (Summer 2020): second round of the anonymous survey, in which the panellists are given the opportunity to modify or confirm their original rating for each statement in light of the group’s responses
- Phase 4 (Summer 2020): analysis and report on what the consensus is (and where consensus could not be reached)
After that point, the results of the Delphi consensus survey will inform the development of new online questionnaires with associated calculators, which will have to meet the requirements identified by the Delphi consensus survey.
We invited expressions of interest in March 2020 (through this website and a publicity campaign), from researchers, teachers and speech & language therapists. A total of 196 panellists were recruited (106 researchers, 58 speech & language therapists, 32 teachers), from 31 countries. The first round of the Delphi survey was launched on the 1st of April. Replies were received from 164 researchers and practitioners (83% response rate). The second round was launched on the 1st of June. Replies were received from 132 researchers and practitioners (80% of the 164 from Round 1).
The preliminary report is now available here. Watch this space for the full manuscript.