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When individuals move to foreign countries, their identities migrate along with their bodies. In a new country, a person faces numerous challenges. First of all, this is a foreign language. Secondly, that is an unfamiliar culture and people who are used to different things and behaviors. Finally, finding accommodation and a job or getting to know the local health care system can also be stressful. All of this has both its positive and negative effects on an individual. Focusing on the positive side of the issue, Dewaele and Stavans (2014) study how immigration, acculturation, and multilingualism shape people’s personality and psychology.
Statement of the Research Problem
The research problem of the present study is how immigration, the following acculturation, and multilingualism influence the personality traits of Israeli residents.
Summary of the Theoretical Concepts Used
The research conducted by Dewaele and Stavans (2014) relies on the findings of many previous studies. At the beginning of the article, in the Introduction and the Literature review sections, the authors give readers an insight into the researched topic.
The majority of researchers, who have studied immigration and its effects, usually focus on negative issues related to it. As a prime example, a lot of attention has been given to cultural shock, stresses, anxiety, alienation, and homesickness (Dewaele & Stavans, 2014, p. 204). Instead of following the example of the majority, Dewaele and Stavans (2014) decided to research the positive sides of immigration, multiculturalism, and multilingualism.
The authors state that according to many studies, multilingualism can make a difference when it comes to foreign language anxiety, or FLA (Dewaele & Stavans, 2014, p. 204). It has been proven that people who know several languages have much lower levels of FLA and are more confident in their ability to learn new languages. Immigration and the successful cross-cultural adaptation affect personality traits positively, teaching individuals to be more optimistic, adaptive to changes, open to people, and opportunities (Dewaele & Stavans, 2014, p. 205).
In the next section, the authors introduce the Multicultural Personality Questionnaire (MPQ), which is aimed to assess multicultural effectiveness and is also positively oriented. MPQ consists of 91 items that make up five scales: Cultural Empathy, Open-mindedness, Social Initiative, Emotional Stability, and Flexibility (Dewaele & Stavans, 2014, p. 208). MPQ has already been used by many researchers, and the results are presented in the Literature Review section of Dewaele and Stavans’ (2014) article. However, no one has ever studied Israeli residents at this point, which is why the present study is original and supplements the previous research on the topic.
Analyzing the article and imperial study conducted, I would say that the design of the study adequately addresses the research problem and questions formulated in the Research question section. The method of the research, which is quantitative, has also been chosen reasonably. The important advantage of this method is that it enables the researchers to gather statistically reliable information (Nykiel, 2007, p. 56)
Even though the authors do not formulate the hypothesis, they clearly identify the research questions, which can be reformulated into those. Thus, the study aims to find out:
- If locally born Israeli residents and foreign participants have any differences in their personality profiles.
- If residents with at least one immigrant parent have different profiles than those with locally born parents.
- If knowing several languages, particular language dominance, total use of various languages, and proficiency in learning, those can be associated with personal profiles.
- If such factors as age and gender have an influence on personality profiles.
To collect the data for the multicultural effectiveness assessment, the Multicultural Personality Questionnaire (MPQ) has been used. To provide the information about age, gender, cultural and family background, participants also filled in additional questionnaires. The questionnaire is an appropriate data collection tool in this case. To answer the research questions formulated in the study, the researchers needed as much information as they could get, and questionnaires let them collect it. Using questionnaires, it is possible to choose a large sample but still get the response quickly (Webb, 2002, p. 78). Additionally, this approach is cheap.
As for the sample, it consists of two parts: 77 students, who have been found due to contacts in the local secondary schools, and 116 individuals found through the Internet, which gives 193 participants in total (123 of them were born in Israel). The choice of the sample is reasonable: it contains people of very different ages (from 13 to 72), various countries of origin, and different language skills. However, the size of the sample could have been bigger, especially since the tool of data collection affords it. Choosing a larger sample, it is possible to get a complete picture of a particular problem while smaller samples provide only the insight on the issue.
As for the flaws, there is no data analysis section in the article, and all information regarding the data handling is presented in the same part as the results of the study. The authors should have made the structure of the article more clear and convenient for a reader.
The findings are presented in the form of tables, which is suitable for quantitative research and also convenient for a reader. Additionally, the Results section is divided into several subsections, each of which addresses a separate question the article is aimed to answer: locally born participants versus immigrants, locally born parents versus foreigners, language dominance, knowledge of several languages, total use and proficiency in languages, gender and age characteristics.
Due to such a structure, readers can find the answer to the question they are interested in very quickly. All the variables have been calculated reasonably and provide a complete and comprehensible picture, which is why I do not think that any of them should be eliminated. Adding new variables, in its turn, is unreasonable since it will only make the article more complicated.
Discussion and Conclusions
The researchers’ discussion and conclusions flow logically from the research questions. All information that has been presented in the Results section is summarized and explained by the authors. Every research question is addressed separately. The research design has also been chosen reasonably. Using the quantitative method of study, the authors managed to get reliable statistical data, and due to questionnaires, they had an opportunity to choose a relatively large sample and collect the information quickly.
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Another strong point that I can notice in the Discussion section is that the authors compare the results found in the present study with the findings of other researchers. For example, when they state that there are no significant differences between the profiles of native-born residents and foreigners, they notice that this result does not coincide with that of the previous study that has inspired the authors. Similarly, presenting the findings regarding the parents of the participants, Dewaele and Stavans (2014) notice that this aspect has not been addressed by the researchers earlier.
Nevertheless, the authors also admit that the study has some limitations, and I agree with that. What is most important is that the foreign participants have been living in Israel for different periods of time. Hence, some of them arrived in the country several years ago and could have already adjusted to the local community, while the others have just moved to Israel and can be experiencing the cultural shock, which affects the results of the study. Some other limitations follow from the nature of the quantitative research and data collection tool chosen for the study. Even though those give the researchers the possibility to collect reliable data from many people, they do not provide a lot of details, which qualitative research methods could have given.
If I were to do a follow-up study on the same topic, I would probably use the same methodology and similar research questions but another geographical area. I am truly convinced that the questionnaire is the best choice in this case because the sample can be very large. Besides, due to the Multicultural Personality Questionnaire, there is no need to come up with questionnaire questions on my own. However, conducting a study like this, I would try to select a larger sample to get the results that are more precise. Additionally, immigrants can be grouped in accordance with the number of years they have been living in the country of residence. That is how it is possible to avoid one of the flaws mentioned above.
Dewaele, J. M., & Stavans, A. (2014). The effect of immigration, acculturation and multicompetence on personality profiles of Israeli multilinguals. International Journal of Bilingualism, 18(3), 203-221.
Nykiel, R. A. (2007). Handbook of Marketing Research Methodologies for Hospitality and Tourism. New York, NY: Psychology Press.
Webb, J. R. (2002). Understanding and Designing Market Research (2nd ed.). London, Great Britain: Thompson Learning.