Blog

2018


November 22, 2018 — MAPLE: A Multilingual Approach to Parent Language Estimates Paper Accepted (link to preprint)

Along with Dr. Byers-Heinlein and other members of the lab, I have written an invited manuscript detailing our finessed approach to language assessment in multilingual children, entitled MAPLE: A Multilingual Approach to Parent Language Estimates.

If you'd like to check out the preprint, you can do so here. Supplemental materials are also available here (includes copies of our Language Exposure Questionnaire in English and French).

November 3, 2018 — Recruiting Hard-to-find Participants (link to OSF document)

Dr. Byers-Heinlein and I have recently authored a document on the Open Science Framework detailing our approach to recruitment via Facebook which has gained over 1500 views, dozens of comments from fellow researchers commending its utility, and a spot on the prestigious “popular nodes” of the Open Science Framework homepage.

Find the project here.

October 12, 2018 — Diverse Perspectives on Bilingualism Conference (summary and link to poster)

This has been my most enjoyable poster session to date! It was great talking to so many other labs looking for ways to improve their recruitment strategies, many of whom seemed excited to try this method.

On a personal note, I challenged myself to break out of my usual poster structure and find a visualization scheme that would better convey this exciting, modern content. I'm quite pleased with how it turned out— stay tuned for a more detailed How-To Guide to Facebook Sponsored posts, soon available on the Open Science Framework!

Find the poster here, and see below for a summary.

(A more recent version of this poster exists, available here. The detailed How-To Guide is now available, here).

Recruiting hard-to-find bilingual participants using Facebook sponsored posts

Background: For research studying bilingual infants, recruitment of participants is difficult, costly, and time-consuming, contributing to long delays in the completion of such research. Many studies have narrow language requirements, for example inclusion criteria involving specific minimum exposures to each language, and exclusion criteria such as infants not having consistent exposure to a third language. Finding participants that meet such criteria is challenging even in a multilingual city such as Montreal. Moreover, many studies with infants have narrow age requirements, increasing the difficulty of recruiting target research participants. Here, we explore Facebook as an effective tool for recruiting bilingual infant participants.

Method: In our lab, we have recently used Facebook sponsored posts as an approach to participant recruitment, which complement our existing methods that have included calling infants whose names appear on government birth lists and distributing posters in the community. Facebook sponsored posts can specify inclusion and exclusion criteria, increasing the likelihood of eligibility of the participants who respond to the post. Moreover, parents can respond at their convenience, which is particularly relevant for busy families. Participants who are not eligible for studies may still recommend others in their network that may match the study criteria, or follow the Facebook page thus join the pool of participants reached in future posts.

Conclusion: While we have used Facebook sponsored posts to recruit bilingual infants, we believe that this tool can be effective for a wide variety of studies seeking specific types of research participants. We provide step-by-step instructions on how to set up Facebook sponsored posts and discuss strategies we have found to increase their effectiveness. A summary of our approach will be made available on Open Science Framework.

June 28, 2018 — First Poster at an International Conference! (summary and link to poster)

We were very excited to present the findings of our study comparing bilingual book formats at the International Congress of Applied Psychology (pictured right; myself & co-author Daphnée Dubé).

Proficient bilingual & second-language-learning 5-year-olds learn words from single-language & bilingual books

Background: Monolingual children learn words from being read to (Sénéchal, 2008), and bilinguals must master the vocabularies of two languages. Few studies have examined bilinguals’ learning from book reading in each of their languages, and whether this is influenced by whether books are in traditional single-language format or in bilingual formats.

Methods: 32 proficient bilingual and 18 second-language-learning 5-year-olds participated. Each was read either two single-language books or a bilingual book, and encountered 5 novel objects labeled in English and French. They completed a pointing task in each language in which they were asked to identify the novel objects.

Results: All children showed above-chance word learning in their dominant language. Proficient bilinguals, but not second-language learners, were above chance in their non-dominant language. No significant difference in learning was found between single-language and bilingual books.

Conclusions: Reading to children learning a second language promotes word learning. Proficient bilinguals learn from books in both of their languages. Learning words in the non-dominant language is more challenging for second language learners. However, children appear to be flexible word learners regardless of the book format used.

Impact: Shared book reading helps both proficient bilinguals and second-language learners to learn new words. Children learn equally well whether they encounter new words in single-language or bilingual settings, but second language learners may need additional support to learn words in their less proficient language.


Find the poster here.