Christopher D. Mellinger and Thomas A. Hanson (2017). Quantitative Research Methods in Translation and Interpreting Studies. New York (USA): Routledge, pp. 275, EUR 130.23 (hardback) / EUR 37.42 (paperback) / EUR 25.62 (ebook). ISBN: 978-1-138-12495-0 (hbk) / 978-1-138-12496-7 (pbk) / 978-1-3156-4784-5 (ebk).
“With this volume, we hope to enhance the methodological rigor of the discipline by outlining the application of quantitative research methods to questions that arise in T&I studies.” (248)
The above sentence, stated by Christopher D. Mellinger and Thomas A. Hanson in the conclusion to their book, summarises its aim and after having read it, I also hope so as the book has all the necessary ingredients to become a reference guide for any scholar in Translation and Interpreting (T&I) studies involved in quantitative research.
The book is structured around the different stages of quantitative research and analysis, from research design to interpreting results. The main added value is that T&I studies are embedded in its contents in such a way that every statistical concept is linked to concrete examples. This way of presenting statistics to the T&I community enables the reader to better understand the appropriateness of choosing a specific test, to interpret the results obtained in a rigorous way, and to assess better the methodological rigor of published research papers by T&I scholars.
The authors do not only offer an explanation of the statistical tests that they deem best in each case, but they also provide insights of related tests used by scholars and explanations as to why they deem such tests to be inappropriate. Although the reader not acquainted with statistics may find the mathematical discussions too technical at times, such explanations will be useful when reviewing the work by others and trying to understand the quantitative analysis that has been made.
Part I, Preparing, focuses on the preparation of the research and comprises three chapters. This first part is the foremost step for any research project, notwithstanding its nature (qualitative, quantitative or both). The first chapter (Research questions, hypotheses, and design) focuses on the importance of designing the project and defining the appropriate research questions. The second chapter (Sampling and ethics) discusses data sampling and emphasises the importance of ethical considerations in research involving human beings. This chapter is particularly important for two reasons: (i) it acknowledges the fact that research in T&I studies normally involves reduced data samples and access to big samples is often a challenge or not possible; and (ii) it gives the importance it deserves to the ethical considerations that need to be taken into account when carrying out any type of research and, more importantly, when carrying research involving human participants. Finally, Chapter 3 (Measurement) offers an overview with regard to the reliability and validity of data and also includes a section on survey design and another on technology issues related to measurement.
Part II, Describing, is devoted to descriptive statistics and sets the mathematical foundations required to understand the subsequent parts of the book. It comprises three chapters: Descriptive statistics; Probability distributions; and Statistical terminology and one-sample tests. While readers already acquainted with statistics and quantitative analysis may use this part as a refresher of previous knowledge, newcomers to quantitative research will find here the right foundation to build upon.
Parts III and IV, Analyzing differences and Analyzing relationships, are devoted to the various statistical tests that can be used to analyse research results. Part III starts focusing on comparing two groups (Chapter 7), to move on to comparing multiple groups (Chapter 8) and comparing groups on multiple factors (Chapter 9). It finishes with a chapter about testing categorical data (Chapter 10). Part IV focuses on the other hand on correlation and reliability (Chapter 11), and linear regression (Chapter 12). All these chapters have a similar structure in which the statistical tests are presented and summarised in a box in the beginning and then a fictitious example is used to guide the reader through the statistics. The reader is also given examples of real research carried out in T&I studies and a brief explanation as to why the choice of statistical test was correct in each case. Additionally, all the chapters in parts III and IV as well as Chapter 6 in part II have additional materials on the book’s website that provide the reader with data and walkthroughs to understand the various tests explained in the book.
Finally, Part V, Interpreting results, comprises a chapter devoted to research integrity, particularly with regard to reporting and dissemination of research results.
I definitely recommend this book both as an introduction to quantitative research in Translation Studies, and as a ‘go-to’ guide for everyone using statistics in their research. It not only provides references to real research, but also allows the readers to understand the concepts within a context they can relate to. I particularly liked the fact that the authors do not restrict themselves to statistics, but also include critical topics for any researcher, such as project design and ethical considerations.
Carla Parra Escartín
Centre for Translation and Textual Studies
School of Applied Language and Intercultural Studies (SALIS)
ADAPT Centre, Dublin City University