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An Exploration of the Effects of Electronic Dictionaries on Iranian Intermediate EFL Learners’ Reading Comprehension

Sara Tavakoli, Omid Akbari


This research examined the L2 learners’ use of electronic dictionaries compared to printed dictionaries. Nowadays, with the advancement and growth of technology, there has been a shift of trend from traditional paper dictionaries to online and electronic dictionaries. In this study the learners’ questionnaire, a reading textbook, a paper dictionary, an electronic dictionary, a reading comprehension test, and the semi-structured interviews were employed as instruments. At first, two questionnaires and the semi-structured interviews were conducted to identify the attitudes and beliefs of EFL learners in relation to the effectiveness of paper and electronic dictionaries on Iranian intermediate EFL learners’ reading comprehension. TOEFL Reading Flash: The Quick Way to Build Reading Power by Milada Broukal (1997) was used as the reading textbook. The Seventh edition of the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary authored by Hornby (2005) was chosen as the paper dictionary. The other dictionary used in this study was an equivalent electronic version of Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary on a CD-ROM as the electronic dictionary. The Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS, 20) was used in order to analyze required statistics. A series of paired-sample t tests were run to examine the learners' reading comprehension scores. In addition, a series of chi-square tests were run to analyze the questionnaires. As results showed, electronic dictionary use has positive effect on learners’ reading comprehension skills and also electronic dictionaries help learners’ vocabulary learning. The implications of the findings are discussed and suggestions are made for future research.


Electronic Dictionary; Paper Dictionary; Reading Comprehension; Vocabulary

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