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Paper Dictionary or Electronic One?
Zainab Saleh AlBulushy
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Research instrument
The research included a sample of 100 students and 50 teachers in the Intensive program from Levels 2-6. A questionnaire was distributed among students regarding their use of either type of dictionary and for what purposes and in which skills. Teachers were asked to state their preferred type (paper dictionary or electronic one) providing reasons for their preferences. The purpose of the study was to:
- Evaluate the students' use of dictionary.
- Weigh the qualities and drawbacks of paper dictionary and electronic dictionary.
- Search out teachers views on both types of dictionaries.
- Provide suggestions for study skills.

Students' Questionnaire
1. Practice of dictionary:
a) English to English 24
b) English to Arabic 78
c) Arabic to English 14
Considering students mother tongue is Arabic, they prefer to use an English to Arabic dictionary to make it easier for them to understand the meanings.

2. Type of dictionary:
a) Paper dictionary 57
b) Electronic dictionary 10
c) Both 33
The biggest number of students uses paper dictionaries. Some use both paper and electronic dictionaries depending probably on where they use it.

3. Bringing dictionary to class
a) Yes 45
b) No 55
It seems that there is equality in students' actual actions of whether they bring the dictionary to class or not. Of course with the reinforcement of the teachers students would bring it to class even when they don't like it.

Why not?
- heavy 31
- difficult to use 9
- don't like it 13
- don't use it 10
- don't need it 6
- forget to bring it 8
- don't have one 3
The heaviness of the paper dictionary is the main reason for students not bringing it to class. Then comes the view that they don't like it in the first place.

4. for which skills?
- a) Reading 88
- b) Writing 47
- c) Listening 26
- d) Speaking 17
Apparently, students use the dictionary more for reading and writing classes. They could sometimes use it for the listening and speaking as required by the activities.

5. Where else they use it?
Students use the dictionary outside class time for purposes like homework, story reading, preparations, and to study for exams. Some students also use it when they are in the library or while reading a newspaper.
- homework 87
- preparation 78
- study for exam 72
- read stories 79
- computer labs 24
- library 47
- reading newspaper 44

6. Do you like using dictionary?
a) Yes 75
b) No 25
Most students like using the dictionary. 25% answered that they don't like it. Reasons could be related to the former mentioned justifications.

7. Do you think the dictionary is useful?
a) Yes 95
b) No 5
It appears that students realize the usefulness of the dictionary and how helpful it is for them in the learning process.

8) Uses of dictionary:
The following percentages show students different uses of dictionaries. The most common uses are checking meanings and spelling of words. Almost half the sample answered that they use it for pronunciation purposes.
- check meanings of new words 98
- spelling 83
- Synonyms/antonyms 46
- pronunciation 51
- stress 46
- grammar 19
- parts of speech 73

9) Teacher brings dictionaries to class?
a) Yes 65
b) No 35
Students seem not to want to use a dictionary even if the teacher provides dictionaries for them although a smaller number agrees with the idea. They will however use it more if the teacher applies its use in the class activities.

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