Participating in my research? Click here!

UPDATE: THIS RESEARCH HAS NOW BEEN COMPLETED. THANK YOU TO ALL CONTRIBUTORS, PARTICIPATING INSTITUTIONS, AND VOLUNTEERS. 

Please mind this space for publication updates.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the primary investigator at katherineravenna [at] gmail .com

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Para más información sobre este estudio [en Español], véase el siguiente enlace: Formulario de consentimiento

Adjunto encontrará un extracto de una entrevista: Sample interview

Estas entrevistas han sido realizadas en varias ocasiones por la investigadora (2011, 2012, 2013, 2015):

(1) Universidad de Puerto Rico – Mayagüez (Mayo 2011): entrevistas     fueron realizadas con tres estudiantes de intercambio (de Alemania, Austria, y Suiza) en RUM como parte de la tesis subgraduada de la investigadora.

(2) University of Edinburgh, Scotland (Junio 2012): entrevistas fueron realizadas de nuevo en Puerto Rico durante el verano del 2012, esta vez con estudiantes universitarios puertorriqueños (del Recinto Universitario de Mayagüez). Resultados formaron parte de la tesis a nivel de maestría.

(3) University of Dublin, Trinity College (Agosto 2013): Entrevistas fueron realizadas con adultos puertorriqueños del area de Mayagüez, como parte de un mini-proyecto linguístico del habla de adultos profesionales.

(4) University of Dublin, Trinity College (Septiembre 2015 – presente): Entrevistas han sido realizadas en adolescentes puertorriqueños de 2 comunidades escolares (escuelas superiores) de Mayagüez, Puerto Rico.

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 About My Study

Language Use in Schools

If you have been directed to this page by the author (Katherine Morales), this means that you have been invited to take part of a linguistic study on language use in adolescent communities of Mayaguez, Puerto Rico. Below is a list of FAQs for participants and/or guardians.

What is this study about?

This study observes Spanish-English language use in late adolescent communities in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico. It is an ethnographic (lasting 4 – 6 months) study being conducted in three different high schools on the west side of the island.

Who can take part of this study?

Anyone can take part of this study as long as you are 16 – 18 years of age, have parental consent to participate, and are a student of one of the three selected schools for this study.

Why is it important?

The Puerto Rican dialect has been largely understudied due to lack of educational resources and research funds, which have prohibited further study of this Caribbean dialect (in comparison to other more largely documented languages/dialects, such as American English and British English). Furthermore, less research has observed the language utilized among young communities on the island. Youth language is of particular importance to the study of linguistics given the status of youth as the “future generation”; it is believed that by observing the language of young people, a researcher can better understand the current status of a particular language and provide a more accurate description of the current day language in that community (see Kirkham & Moore, 2013 on Adolescence).

What will I have to do?

  • If you are among the volunteers in this study, you will have to fill out this consent form in which parental consent is needed to participate.
  • The study will involve a 20 – 30 minute interview in which you will be asked on questions on your childhood, upbringing, hobbies, interests, and friends. You will also be asked questions on Puerto Rico and the United States (these are all opinion questions; there are no right or wrong answers). It is not a test.
  • This interview will be audio-recorded, however, it will only be used by the principal researcher (Katherine Morales) and her thesis advisor. Recordings are made to facilitate the transcription of the interviews, which will form the main part of the research.
  • You will also be asked to provide basic demographic information, such as age, gender, region, and parental occupation. You may resist from providing certain information, if you are uncomfortable with answering that question/information.

Are there any risks?

There are no foreseeable risks. This study is strictly confidential, and no personal information (such as participant’s real name, or the school’s name) will ever be used in any publication or conference presentation. The study is also voluntary, and a participant may withdraw his/her participation at any point if he/she so desires without any consequence.

Has this study been done before?

This study has been conducted on multiple occasions across the globe, in different countries. Some examples of these types of studies are: Penelope Eckert in Detroit (1989, 2000), Norma Mendoza-Denton in California (2008), Mary Bucholtz (1999), Sam Kirkham in Sheffield, England (2013), Katie Drager in New Zealand (2009). This is the first time a study of its kind is done in Puerto Rico. This means, you have the opportunity to take part of something completely novel, with linguistic, historical, and social implications for the island of Puerto Rico. Data collected from this study may be used in future scientific articles, academic conferences, and other publications. However, it will maintain its confidential nature and participants’ identities will never be disclosed.

Are there any rewards?

There are no monetary rewards for this study, given its large sample size (60 – 100 students). However, the researcher is willing to provide English tutoring for those participants who need it. As part of the ethnographic method (which is the chosen method for this study), the researcher is expected to “give back to the community” by helping out in school activities.

Who else is taking part of this study?

Three other schools on the west side of the island are being observed for this research.

Who has approved of this study?

This study has been approved by the Department of Education in Puerto Rico. It has also been approved by the Ethics Committee of the School of Linguistic, Speech, and Communication Sciences at the University of Dublin – Trinity College.

Contact Information

For further information, please contact me (Katherine Morales) personally at moralesk [at] tcd [dot] ie or at my mobile number (provided in the consent forms), and/or my supervisor Jeffrey Kallen at jkallen [at] tcd [dot] ie.