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SEL8531 : Research methods for IPhD students

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Lauren Ackerman
  • Lecturer: Mrs Sharon Robinson
  • Owning School: English Lit, Language & Linguistics
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 10.0


The Research Methods for IPhD Students module equips students with the methodological skills set as well as the analytical and critical abilities required to conduct PG level research. Moreover, it trains their written and oral presentation skills to help their professional development as PG researchers. The module is taken over semesters 1 and 2 of the first year of the IPhD programme. More specifically, the module will:
•       equip students with a wide range of tools required to carry out research in linguistics, including their chosen subfield
•       enable students to critically appraise published research
•       hone students' writing skills, with particular focus on argumentation
•       develop students' oral skills in presenting their own work

Outline Of Syllabus

Module outline
Semester 1

Linguistics component
Normally, a one-hour lecture and one-hour supporting seminar per week.

Library component
Partly in workshop format, on a range of topics that may include:
- Introduction to the Library’s resources and services
- Searching the research literature
- Referencing and annotation software
- Scholarly communication in the 21st century

Semester 2
Library component
- Library refresher

Linguistics component
- A major focus on using and working in R
- Research project meetings
- Research project proposal presentations

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture201:0020:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion1155:00155:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching201:0020:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDissertation/project related supervision51:005:001-2-1 student-supervisor meetings (Sem 2) to start shaping research-phase project
Jointly Taught With
Code Title
SEL8500Research Methods in Language and Linguistics
SEL8512Research Methods in Language and Linguistics II
SEL8511Research Methods in Language and Linguistics I
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures will be used primarily to impart information and provide an overall coherence for the module.
Small group teaching and workshops will focus on developing students’ research and transferable skills. They also aim to enhance interpretation of divergent approaches to linguistic data analysis, improve oral and writing skills, and build team work in a specific area.

One-to-one student-supervisors meetings will provide students with the opportunity to regularly meet with their supervisor to start shaping the research project to be carried out in the research-phase of the programme.

Independent study enables students to undertake relevant reading, investigate relevant areas, execute independent research, and develop their methodology.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1A50Critical evaluation of research methods (1,000 words)
Research proposal2A50Summative 2,000 word essay detailing research proposal
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Written exercise1MFormative 1000 word diagnostic essay
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The critical evaluation of research methods will demonstrate students’ ability to:
•       identify methods relevant to their proposed research-phase thesis project
•       evaluate the strengths and limitations of these methods
•       assess how past research practices could be improved upon in the project proposed for the research-phase thesis project

The critical evaluation of a recently published research paper will demonstrate students’ ability to:
•       identify recently published research relevant to their proposed research-phase thesis project
•       evaluate the quality of the paper, with a special emphasis on issues of validity and reliability
•       assess what contribution the project proposed for the research-phase thesis project could make to the topic discussed in the chosen article

Reading Lists