Karen Curtin has a Ph.D. specializing in Japanese language pedagogy from the Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures (DEALL) of The Ohio State University (OSU).
Her research interests include working memory in the L2, the influence of study techniques on in-class performance, sociolinguistics, pedagogical material creation, and the performance and uptake of Japanese politeness behavior in the Japanese language classroom. Curtin's Ph.D. dissertation is on Japanese language students' politeness behavior in the intermediate Japanese language classroom. Her research aims to better understand and approach the complex issue of creating and maintaining social relationships in Japanese as well as the pedagogical implications of such research. Curtin's research in Japanese politeness behavior has garnered attention through her series of presentations at such academic conferences as the American Association for Teachers of Japanese (AATJ) and the National Council of Less Commonly Taught Languages (NCOLCTL).