Date of Award

Fall 12-14-2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Applied Linguistics and English as a Second Language

First Advisor

Diane Belcher

Second Advisor

Gayle Nelson

Third Advisor

John Murphy

Fourth Advisor

Paula Garrett-Rucks


The efficacy of corrective feedback (CF) on writing for second language (L2) development has been much studied in applied linguistics since Truscott’s (1996) polemic against written CF. However, no clear picture of its effectiveness has emerged yet as empirical studies have reported conflicting findings. The majority of these studies are short-term studies focusing on the role of teacher-centered written CF from the cognitive perspective, and therefore the long-term developmental process, oral CF, and the role of the learner and learner affect in the feedback process have been under-explored. In addition, previous research has focused on English learners, and little is known about the impact of CF in writing on learners of non-European languages. In an attempt to address these research gaps, the present study, using sociocultural theory as its theoretical framework, investigated the long-term impact of Vygotskyan dialogic CF, an operationalization of CF as mediation in the learner’s zone of proximal development (Aljaafreh & Lantolf, 1994), on L2 Japanese writers’ linguistic and affective outcomes.

To carry out this investigation, a year-long mixed-methods case study was conducted. Participants were two American undergraduate Japanese as a foreign language learners who were asked to produce personal writing and then participate in a face-to-face writing conference to receive dialogic CF from the researcher. Data included the two learners’ writing samples, interviews, audio-recordings of the writing conferences, and researcher field notes. Learners’ linguistic outcome was analyzed quantitatively using accuracy rates in writing and also qualitatively using genetic method (Vygotsky, 1978) to trace changes in the learner’s responsiveness to dialogic CF. Learners’ affective outcome was qualitatively analyzed using the interview data.

The findings with respect to linguistic outcomes obtained from longitudinal data revealed the ‘wave-like’ characteristic of the nature of the L2 developmental process, which questions the common data interpretation equating the lack of short-term accuracy improvement with inefficacy of CF. The findings from the interview analysis showed that positive emotions were frequently engendered and the two learners frequently exercised their agency during dialogic CF writing conferences, which suggests that feedback process in L2 writing is not only a cognitive process but also an affective process.