English! Do you speak it?! – A proposal

In 2011 ABS reported that 81% of Australians over the age of 5 only spoke English in their home. Meanwhile, the other 19% spoke languages other than English at home. Given that Australia’s official language is English that isn’t the case for other countries. Singapore for example has four official languages and these languages consist of English, Mandarin Chinese, Malay and Tamil. New Zealand has two official languages which are English and Maori. For my research task, I’m proposing an enquiry whether or not university students feel the need to study another language.


2011 ABS report

While English is Australia’s official language, there are many benefits in learning another language. They open multiple job opportunities, allow you to make connections with different people, you’re able to read and watch different media that aren’t available in English. With that being said there are little to no negatives when it comes to learning a language and only benefits come out of it. With all of this said however, should learning another language be compulsory in compulsory education? Japan already has English as a compulsory subject in schools.

As for how to go about this research, surveys are deemed to be the best way to do this research. This is because the research question revolves around asking students whether or not they feel the need to study a different language. This makes the research require qualitative data rather than quantitative data. Questions in the survey may include “Do you feel it’s necessary to learn another language?” “Do you want to learn a new language? If so, what language?” Of course, the surveys won’t have too many questions nor will they take too long to answer. The process of filling one out won’t be too inconvenient.

In terms of what kind of sources that will be used to assist in research, they will consist of newspaper articles such as this one, government websites like this one or even case studies such as this one. As for why sources like these are being used, it is because they provide useful information relevant to the research topic I.E. learning a new language. Sources along with the surveys that will be given to various university students will help shape the research project and provide the results by the end of the project.

The main reason this was the chosen research topic is that with different parts of the world being more easily connected. With the assistance of advancing technology, people around the world are able to communicate with each other regardless of distance. That’s one barrier of communication down, however the other barrier isn’t so easily taken down. People speak many different languages and this puts out the question. Do people really want to put in the effort and learn a whole new way of communication? The results could say something along the lines of “92% of university students feel it is necessary to learn a second language” or even “43% of university students want to learn a language but don’t feel it’s compulsory to” or “65% of university students don’t want to learn a second language”.

To conclude, the goal of this research project is to find out whether or not university students want to learn a language that is different from their native language. The research project is feasible, the scale isn’t too big which makes it achievable and is very relevant to university students.



5 thoughts on “English! Do you speak it?! – A proposal

  1. Highlighting such a debated issue within the educational realm could prove very interesting in your final report. I really like how you’ve been able to combine ABS statistical data, with the primary research you intend to perform, which will give more validity and power to your research. Have you considered how you will approach or handle the differing attitudes towards foreign languages you may encounter, such as very positive or very negative comments that you as a researcher must remain neutral towards?


    • Thank you for the feedback. Yes, I’m aware people have various opinions regarding this topic. I’m quite sure there will be people are adamant that learning a second language is not necessary and there will be those who are all for it as well. I will do my best to stay neutral. All opinions are valid and will be taken into consideration when writing the final report.


  2. Hi, I found this research done by the Australian Council for Educational Research on learning second languages in Australia that you might find useful.

    Another question you could ask is whether or not university students feel they have the time to study a language. I’m sure many would like to learn a second language but simply can’t fit in learning a language.

    Just a small note, I feel like this proposal could have been improved with the addition of some sub-headings.


  3. Firstly the title was really eye-catching! Your blog post was easy to find, and the hyperlinks were really good (especially because they opened in another tab).

    The research topic is really interesting, and I am really interested in what you will find, I am especially interested in what people think the second language we should learn is, and how we would decide that (as a nation, or state, or individual school), and how long it would be compulsory. The trial of ‘Should learning a second language be compulsory in Australian schools?’ on the SBS website will be a fabulous secondary source! It will be interesting to see if this brings out any racism or discrimination surrounding certain languages, hopefully this does not occur in your predominantly (presumably) well educated survey respondents.

    Good luck with it!


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