August 11, 2000 (Preliminary Report)

4.  Participants
A total of 40 Japanese business people in their 20s to 40s took part in the experiment. [2] They were divided into two groups, Experiment Group and Control Group, each consisting of 20 people with a male-female ratio of about 50-50.

The subjects in the former group consisted of people who participated in business writing seminars conducted by this author between January and June of the current year. They volunteered to take part in the experiment upon my invitation and, as such, were fully aware of the purpose of the experiment. They were also given a brief explanation of the BLC Concordance by this author in the writing seminars they attended.

The subjects in the latter group were chosen at random from among the participants of the Writing Marathon -- a correspondence course in English Business writing run jointly by ALC Inc., a publisher in Tokyo, and this author since 1986. They knew nothing about the experiment, nor did they use the BLC Concordancer in writing the assignments..

[2] The Project actually started with twice the number of people, but about a half of the subjects in the Ex-periment Group either did not complete all the seven assignments before the final date of the Project or gave up sending the assignments mainly due to technical problems (users of Internet Explorer Ver. 3 or under were not able to use the JavaScrip form mail used in this Project to send the assignments).