TESOL Award for Distinguished Research 

Presented by the TOEFL Board of ETS

2016 Award for Distinguished Research Co-Recipients: Bonny Norton and Ron Darvin

 Bonny Norton

Bonny Norton is a professor and distinguished university scholar, department of language and literacy education, University of British Columbia, Canada. She is also research advisor of the African Storybook project. Many of her key ideas are found in the second edition of "Identity and Language Learning," published in 2013 by Multilingual Matters. A fellow of the American Educational Research Association (AERA), she was the inaugural recipient of the Senior Research Leadership Award of AERA’s Second Language Research SIG. 

 Ron Darvin  

Ron Darvin is a doctoral candidate and Vanier scholar at the University of British Columbia, Canada. His research focuses on digital literacy and equity, learner investment, and social class. Together with Bonny Norton, he has published in TESOL Quarterly, Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, and Journal of Language, Identity, and Education.

Who's Eligible

Any author who has completed an empirical research project and a subsequent scholarly paper that was published in a peer-reviewed scholarly journal during the calendar year preceding the award year. For example, the 2014 award was given for research published during the 2013 calendar year.

Final page proofs of papers scheduled to be published late in the year are acceptable.

Articles with multiple authors are also eligible, but only the lead author will receive the award package.


To recognize excellence in any area of research on language teaching and learning.


  • US$1,000
  • One complimentary registration to the TESOL International Convention & English Language Expo
  • Roundtrip airfare and 2 nights hotel to attend the TESOL convention
  • 1-year TESOL membership
  • 1-year subscription to TESOL Quarterly
  • One featured session at the TESOL convention
  • One featured article in TESOL Connections 


Manuscripts are evaluated according to the following criteria:
  • Significance of the issue to the field of language learning and teaching in TESOL
  • Awareness of relevant scholarship related to the issue or problem
  • Clarity with which any theoretical considerations, research questions, or models related to the issue or problem are presented
  • Evidence of appropriate research methods and analysis, regardless of methodological paradigm
  • Persuasiveness of the argument presented and the conclusions drawn
  • Clarity of the writing

Online Submission Process

Papers may be nominated or self-nominated. To complete the online submission process, you will need the following information. You are strongly encouraged to gather this information before you begin the application. That way, you can fill out the application completely, and you will not have to go back and fill in items later.

  • Biographical statement for author of paper (50 words)
  • Author's full name and email address (primary author if more than one author)
  • PDF of empirical research study
Click here to begin the application/nomination process.

Application Deadline

Completed online applications must be submitted by 1 November.


Contact awards@tesol.org

Past Award Recipients

View a list of past recipients. For information on recipients for years not listed, please contact awards@tesol.org.