Research questions

Researchers often defend their chosen methods as the only one that provides reliable and useful results and criticize other methods as completely unsuitable. It is often overlooked, however, that other methods are often used to tackle different research questions. It is, therefore, important to discuss the individual methods in relation to the questions that they are supposed to answer. Discourse completion tests, for instance, have their problems. But rather than dismissing them out of hand, they should be evaluated carefully as to what kinds of question they can answer and what kinds of question they cannot answer. I propose the following list of research aims for speech act research, and in particular for the research of compliments.

It should be noted that such questions can be asked for specific languages or language varieties, but they can also be asked contrastively for two or more languages (see, for instance, Cordella, Large and Pardo 1995 for a contrastive analysis of Australian English and Spanish compliments); for two or more language varieties (see, for instance, Herbert 1989 for a contrastive American English – South African English analysis); or for two or more historical stages of the same language (see, for instance, Taavitsainen and Jucker 2008 on compliments in the history of English).