The Repository @ St. Cloud State

Open Access Knowledge and Scholarship

Date of Award


Culminating Project Type


Degree Name

English: Teaching English as a Second Language: M.A.




College of Liberal Arts

First Advisor

John P. Madden

Second Advisor

Choonkyong Kim

Third Advisor

Kyounghee Seo

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Keywords and Subject Headings

note-taking, language medium, listening comprehension, listening strategies, quality of notes, note analysis


As light has been shed on notetaking in educational settings, it has been considered as a necessary skill for language learners to be successful in their academic learning. When students listen for the purpose of comprehension, they have two language options for notetaking: first language (L1) or second language (L2). There have not been many studies on the effects of different notetaking languages on their listening comprehension as well as on the quality of the notes taken. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to compare notes taken in the learners’ L1 compared to L2, and to see if there is a difference in learners’ comprehension and in the quality of learners’ notes. Moreover, the study also aimed to see the correlation among the variables of the lecture comprehension and the quality of the notes.

Twenty undergraduate and graduate students living in the United States, whose L1 is Korean and L2 is English, were recruited for this study. Through within-subject design, all twenty participants experienced both taking notes in L1 and L2 while listening to English academic lectures. Learners’ lecture comprehension was examined by three dimensions: getting main ideas by global questions score (GQS), getting details by local questions score (LQS), and total questions score (TQS). The quality of learners’ notes was examined by three indexes: total words count score (WCS), the number of propositional units score (PUS), and test answerability score (TAS). Nonparametric analysis methods of Wilcoxon Signed-ranks test and Spearman’s rho correlation were carried out because the data set was not normally distributed. The results of Wilcoxon Signed-ranks test were that there was no statistically significant difference in the participants’ comprehension levels or in the quality of their notes, regardless of the language used to take notes. In the correlation analysis of L1 and L2 notes, there were more numbers of correlated variables in L2 notes than in L1 notes. In L1 notes’ correlation analysis, WCS and TAS, and TAS and TQS were highly correlated. In L2 notes’ correlation analysis, WCS and PUS, WCS and TAS, PUS and TAS, TAS and GQS, and TAS and TQS showed correlation.

Teaching implications of the findings are that it will be useful for teachers to be aware of the merits of L1 notetaking and L2 notetaking and to use them strategically and skillfully according to the purpose they have with notetaking. Limitations of the study and some suggestions for further studies follow.


Last year and a half that I spent in the graduate school were the most challenging but also the most rewarding time of my life ever. I would like to express my gratitude to everyone who helped me with my graduate thesis paper. Firstly, I would like to thank Dr. John Madden, the chairperson of my thesis committee for helping me from the beginning of the paper, providing me with all the guidance needed to develop this culminating project to its perfection. I would also like to thank Dr. Choonkyong Kim, the second reader of my thesis committee, for helping me frame my thesis, from choosing the topic to establishing its research design. Last but not least, I would like to thank Dr. Kyounghee Seo, the third reader of my thesis committee, and Dr. James Robinson, my academic advisor, who brought me this amazing opportunity to further my studies in English education and motivated me with insightful comments and advice.

The thesis has also benefited from my fellow friends Elizabeth Claessens and Paige Gibbons with proofreading and making test materials for the listening lectures in my study. My thanks are extended to all the professors in TESOL program, EAP colleagues and staffs who inspired me with knowledge and gave me full of encouragements and cheers.

Special big thanks go to my parents, my sister, and my beloved life partner for always supporting and encouraging me to complete my Master’s degree successfully.

Finally, this paper would not have been possible without the help of all of them mentioned above. I will never forget what I have got in St. Cloud State University.



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