2003 Volume 40 Pages 61-79
Two empirical studies were conducted, in which Japanese EFL learners' searching behavior was compared in using an electronic dictionary (ED condition) with using a conventional one (PD condition). In the first study, to clarify how learners differ in using dictionaries, the authors focused on the learners searching behavior such as search time, retention of words, and impressions or comments on dictionaries. The results indicated that, between the two conditions; 1) there were no significant differences in respect to either the number of words they looked up or the time they needed for a search in a dictionary in comparison between the printed dictionary group and the electronic dictionary group; 2) no significant differences in the learners' retention of words were found. In addition, 3) some differences were shown in the comments on dictionaries between college and high school students; and 4) most students highly evaluated an electronic dictionary in respect to its handiness and its ease of use, while they considered that, owing to its interface design, it did not provide sufficient information to them, as did a printed dictionary. To provide some supportive evidence to the results found in the first study, the think-aloud procedure was employed in the second study, and influences of dictionaries' interface design on their searching behavior were confirmed.