ALC8020 : Research Methods in Applied Linguistics

Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 10.0


This module aims to provide students with the basic knowledge and skills required to design and carry out independent research in the area of applied linguistics and teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL). It introduces the key research approaches and a variety of research methods used in investigating language teaching and learning. It will take a step-by-step approach through the process, from getting to know the key concepts involved in applied linguistics research, to the design, carrying out a research project, and interpreting the research findings. It also introduces students to exemplary research articles in this area.

Outline Of Syllabus

Here is a sample outline, but individual sessions may be subject to change.

Week 1 Introduction to the module. Overview of research in Applied Linguistics

Weeks 2-3 Introduction to research in Applied Linguistics/ Generating ideas for research

Week 3 Librarian and Information skills: Introduction to resources

Weeks 4-11 Theoretical approaches in Applied Linguistics, data collection and analysis, ethics
These sessions may include introduction to the following topics:
•       Searching the literature. Engaging with literature. Appropriate referencing.
Survey-based research
•       Interviews
Mixed methods research
•       Classroom Observation and Interaction
•       Experimental methods
•       Researching online language learning contexts

Weeks 12-19 Data collection and analysis lectures and workshops.
These sessions may include introduction to the following topics:
•       Introduction to Conversation Analysis
•       Analysing qualitative data
•       Analysing quantitative data

There will also be an additional library skills session: Developing a research strategy

Weeks 20-21 Formulating your research questions; Research design: Rationale, Literature review, Methodology; Writing your research proposal

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion240:0080:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture172:0034:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading210:0020:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops42:008:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study158:0058:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Key concepts, principles, approaches, and techniques involved in applied linguistics and TESOL research will be introduced mainly through input sessions. Workshops and tutorials are aimed for providing follow-up practical guidance. The task of writing a critique allows students to draw links between theories and research practice.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1A401500 word assignment which uses an empirical research article to critique one of the methods introduced in semester
Essay2M602500 word research proposal as preparation for the dissertation
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The two assignments are designed to prepare students for their dissertations, which begin in March after the final assignment for this module is submitted.
Assignment one involves the evaluation of a research method, including strengths and weaknesses and information about when it is appropriate to use the chosen method over other possibilities. This is done via a critique of an empirical research article which uses the method. Students will be provided with a list of suitable methods and must choose one, based on the input provided in semester one. The aim is to evaluate students’ awareness of different methods, but also to help them to prepare for their dissertation proposals by considering when, where and how these methods can be used.
Assignment two is a research proposal, the aim being to prepare for the dissertation by providing a focus and rationale for the topic, situating it within the appropriate literature, stating the research questions and providing an overview of the proposed methods of data collection and analysis as well as considering ethical issues. The appendix of the proposal will include a draft ethics application.

Reading Lists