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Interview with Dr. Zhijun Sun at CCSL

time:2022-12-14 views:

Recently, the research results studied by Zhijun Sun, a PhD student at CCSL, and Professor Jianqin Wang, the director of CCSL, were published in the internationally renowned core journal Language Assessment Quarterly (LAQ).

About the interviewee

Zhijun Sun is a PhD student at CCSL, majoring in Linguistics and Applied Linguistics, she is also a lecturer at the College of International Education, Shandong Normal University.

Interview content

1. How do you find questions that can be studied in depth during the learning process?

This is a good question. Everyone should find the entry point of his or her research area and dig deeper. As my mentor Professor Wang Jianqin often says, "You must find the end of the previous research, the end of the previous research is the starting point of your research".

In this article, the research direction that Pro. Wang Jianqin helped me to identify when I first entered Beijing Language and Culture University as a doctoral student was the interface between testing and acquisition, that is, dynamic assessment from the perspective of socio-cultural theory. Mr. Wang gave a special lecture on this research, and we discussed it repeatedly together. He also invited Qin Tianyu from an American university to conduct a lecture series on dynamic assessment for us. While listening to the lecture, I had a hazy idea because of the foundation of measurement, how come they could determine that the grades must be equidistant from each other? With this question in mind, I consulted my master's advisor, Mr. Guo Shujun (deceased), and also discussed with my advisor and fellow students many times. I finally determined that there was indeed a problem with my predecessor's formula and conducted an experimental study with Mr. Peng Xu, a visiting scholar of Mr. Wang and a colleague of Shan Shi, who was enrolled with me at that time, to prove the problem.

To sum up, it is to follow the advice of my supervisor, communicate and discuss more with my teachers and classmates, build a small research team, and think more on my own.

2. In terms of literature reading, what kind of ideas did you have in selecting the literature before deciding on the topic? What kind of skills do you have in the process of literature reading?

Once you have the core literature, you have to read it thoroughly, and then expand it by looking for literature related to the problem in the references of the core literature to expand your reading volume.

Reading the original English literature has always been encouraged by Mr. Wang, and we have to admit that the quality of the articles published in the English core journals is still relatively high, and the issues discussed are more cutting-edge. The first contact with more than a dozen pages or even dozens of pages of English literature, students may be very headache, but my advice is that there is no good way, the beginning of everything is difficult, only hard gnawing, when the first article is taken, the later will be easier and easier, and gradually find the feeling.

3. What kind of plans do you think should be made in terms of time allocation for literature writing?

This article has taken about 5 years since I had the idea for the research. I first discovered that there might be a problem with the previous learning potential formula, which was around December 2017, so joking up, this Sun et al. article, from (2017) to (2022). So I'm not really too qualified to answer that question. If I had to give advice, it would be to make sure to write, write and submit, don't hesitate, and only when you actually start doing it, you will make progress.

4. Can you share some tips in imporving English academic writing skills?

This question is the same as above, that is, you can improve only after you actually write. Of course reading English literature will also help your writing, at least you will learn what the terminology and specific expressions are like. CCSL also provides great support in improving the quality of students' writing and reading, and I am very glad that I am in a platform that can wholeheartedly support graduate students in their research.

5. Could you tell us about the whole process of writing and submitting the paper?

It took about 5 years to write and publish this paper. First, when I first enrolled in the university, I had a rough idea in my supervisor's class, special topics class, and lectures by invited experts, and then I discussed it with my supervisor, other teachers, and fellow students many times to verify the idea before starting to write it. 2018, with the support of CCSL, Mr. Wang suggested that students from my division attend an international academic conference on dynamic assessment, so I integrated the idea, submitted the paper, and attended the conference. At the conference, I had the privilege to listen to presentations by Professor James Lantolf, a leading figure in sociocultural theory, and Professor Matthew Poehner, a leading expert in dynamic assessment. In the panel presentation, I presented my thoughts to Professor Poehner and received his affirmation and support. He also suggested the possibility of collaboration to work on the problem.

It also took me almost two years from writing to submitting the manuscript. During that time, I sent many emails to Prof. Poehner (16 emails from him alone), and Prof. Poehner's initial questions were so sharp that I felt that if I could not answer them, the article would not be sent out. So, I had to fight my way through them one by one, and in the process of answering emails, I again sorted out my thoughts, continued to discuss with my fellow teachers, and continued to deepen my research on this issue, and also developed new insights. Only after that did I start to submit to the journal Language Assessment Quarterly, a special issue initiated by Poehner.

LAQ is an online submission that requires many steps, including author information, whether the experiment has been approved by the ethics committee, and so on. We were very excited to find out that the article only needed minor revision, which was a great news. As we all know, there are three kinds of external review results, one is the direct rejection, that is, the article is killed, then you can only give up or transfer to other journals; one is the major revision, that is, the reviewer thinks your article is okay, but the expression or experiment has a major problem, usually to rewrite or re-do the experiment, etc.; the third is the best result, minor revision, which means that the reviewer is very positive about your article. The third type is the best result, minor revision, which means that the reviewer is very positive about your article, but only in the smallest details need to be revised. It is unlikely that there are articles that do not need any revision at all, and if there are, the authors must be gods. So we are very happy to see this feedback, but we are also well prepared. First of all, you can explain what he asks you to explain, and then you don't need to revise it; in addition, if he asks you to revise it, you can "rebuttal" (reject) his request if you think you did the right thing, but the wording must be polite, and you have to argue with reason, lay out the facts Tell the truth and cite the literature. If it's really your problem, then follow the editor's advice and revise it honestly.

Finally, the article content finally passed the review, to start the layout, this round also about a few times back and forth, there are emails and system submissions, but the progress began to be fast. When I received the "congratulation" email on December 4 of this year, everything was finally settled.

6. What are the differences between publishing academic results in foreign journals?

Regarding the differences between domestic and foreign journals, it is not easy to compare them, because I have only published one in English and one in Chinese. But just for the commonality of the two articles I published, as long as your article does have content and new ideas, it will definitely be published. I encourage you to submit more articles to foreign language journals, after all, "even wine is afraid of the alley". If you have good research results, but not published in English for the world to see, you miss the international influence of the results, which is actually a very regrettable thing.

7. Do foreign journals have one manuscript per submission?

Foreign journals are strictly one-manuscript-one-submission, which is a matter of academic ethics and we hope you will abide by it. Although most foreign journals may take a very short time to review a manuscript, there are indeed some that take up to a year to respond. So in this case, you have to wait patiently, or write a new article and continue to submit it in the meantime.