The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2010 OPEN FORUM Abstracts


Mohamed Y. Gamadid; Respiratory Care, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN

Background: The level of diversity among students studying respiratory care has increased; this change likely parallels the general US population. For many of these students, English is not their first language. Although there is literature that examines this diverse composition of students, there are none that have studied the effect of language background and ethnicity on the ability to write personal reflections in English. The purpose of this study was to determine whether diverse linguistic origin has an effect on writing style that might affect a student’s ability to express oneself in reflective writing. Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC) is text analysis software that was initiated in 2001 by JW Pennebaker. This instrument categorizes words into linguistic dimensions to provide quantitative analysis of individual writing. Methods: Sixteen senior respiratory care students at our program individually chronicled their shared experience of serving an evening meal at a local homeless shelter. LIWC was used to assess six variables: self reference, social words, cognitive, big words, and positive and negative emotion. An analysis of the scores of each variable was performed between those students with English first language backgrounds (EFLB) and non-English first language backgrounds (NEFLB). Student T-test was used for statistical analysis. Results (refer to table 1) Conclusion: This study suggests that regardless of origin and differences in linguistic background, students display similar fundamental characteristics and ability when writing in a reflective manner on personal experience. References: US Census Bureau. U.S. Interim Projections by Age, Sex, Race, and Hispanic Origin: 2000-2050 Pennabaker JW, Francis ME, Booth MJ. Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count. Mahwah, NJ. Erlbaum Pub, 2001. Carroll DW. Patterns of student writing in a critical thinking course: A quantitative analysis. Assessing Writing 2007;12:213-227. Lee HC, Kim K, Seo SY, Chung K C. The Relations between personality and language use. J Gen Psychol 2007;134(4):405-413. Sponsored Research - None

Table 1 Mean Occurrences/100 Words

* Self reference variable (e.g. I, me, mine) (p=0.03)