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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The effects of graphics and two-way information gaps on the business decision-making language and skills of second language learners Oszust, Valerie


Research in both English for Academic Purposes and Business Communications suggests that task supports such as graphics and information gaps can influence cognitive performance on decision-making tasks. This is because they affect shared perceptions of the situational context, a key factor in effective group decision-making. This study compares results on four task combinations of information gaps and graphics to assess their effects on both the language and business decision-making skills of second language learners. The study found that a graphic without an information gap was the only combination which resulted in significantly better decision-making test scores. This finding suggests that cognitive skills are being exercised in the business discussions of second language learners and that these skills can be enhanced by graphics, provided they are not combined with information gaps. There were no significant variations in the language measures used (output and the ratio of exophora to anaphora), which suggests that these language measures may be inadequate for assessing cognitive/academic language performance. Further studies may require new measures for assessing the simultaneous development of language and decision-making skills.

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