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University Vocabulary Trainer (UVT)

Reviewed on February 5, 2010

Reviewer: Tacey Rodgers

Recommendation: recommend with reservations


The UVT is developed by Kenneth Chang and Gregory James, and is funded by The Language Fund, The Hong Kong Government.  They are an authority on this subject because although the Hong Kong  The authors cite his/her experience/credentials by stating the University in which they are associated.  They are endorsed by the Language Fund of the Hong Kong Government.  The site contains no articles or footnotes. government’s language fund, funds the site, it is developed at the Language Centre of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.

The site is intended for college students of China who are learning English or who want extra help in expanding academic vocabulary in English.  The level of material is for students on a college/university level.  The geographical area covered is all areas, as it is a web-based multi-media tool.  The information covered is a subset of a more comprehensive source because it is divided into sub-fields that represent their various areas.  For example, the main field of business includes the sub-fields of accounting, economics, and finance and marketing.  Extracts from university textbooks in those subfields are taken and put together to form a large computer database.  The University abridged the information because their goal was only to include vocabulary that would be beneficial to academic college students.

The information is presented as fact because of the claim that the words they select to store in their database are extracted from university textbooks.  It is unknown whether the information is accurate.  There does not seem to be a biased standpoint.

There is no date on the website.  The website does not indicate how frequently updates are obtained.  There is no obvious indication of the information being out of date.


The quality of the research is not of high quality.  There are brief sections under the link heading ‘root words.’ There is a brief section stating the history of English words, inflections, common roots, prefixes, and suffixes.  As far as I am able to see, the methodologies are acceptable; however, there are no citations that indicate the information was taken from a valid source.  The website is clearly written and organized.  Since the authors are pulling vocabulary from academic textbooks, they are using research that has been previously introduced so there is no new research being reported.  The authors do not indicate whether they agree or disagree with the scholars.  The website’s purpose is not for such review.  This website is presented on behalf of the university, so there is no association with any one discipline.

The presenter is possibly accrediting the University for taking the time to display such a collaboration of vocabulary words, their usages, and meanings.  There is no corporate sponsor.  There are no hidden costs.  It is optional for the user to enter personal identification; the user may proceed using a guest status.

I recommend with reservations because after extensive review, it did not appeal to me as an ESL instructor.  Possibly, an EFL instructor in China may utilize the information out of respect to the efforts of the University.  The main reason why I recommend this site with reservations because I would like for the authors to explicitly state the titles and authors of the textbooks in which they pulled the information; there is no proof/support that the information presented in credible and accurate.

Subject Headings: EFL learners, China, vocabulary