This research explores the search behaviour of EFL learners (n=24) by tracking their interaction with corpus-based materials during focus-on-form activities (Observe, Search the corpus, Rewriting). One set of learners made no use of web services other than the BNC during the central Search the corpus activity while the other set resorted to other web services and/or consultation guidelines. The performance of the second group was higher, the learners’ formulation of corpus queries on the BNC was unsophisticated and the students tended to use the BNC search interface to a great extent in the same way as they used Google or similar services. Our findings suggest that careful consideration should be given to the cognitive aspects concerning the initiation of corpus searches, the role of computer search interfaces, as well as the implementation of corpus-based language learning. Our study offers a taxonomy of learner searches that may be of interest in future research.
Pérez-Paredes, P., Sánchez-Tornel, M., & Alcaraz Calero, J. M. (2012). Learners’ search patterns during corpus-based focus-on-form activities.International Journal of Corpus Linguistics, 17(4), 483-516
Full text here.