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SEL2229 : Experimental Methods in Linguistics

  • Offered for Year: 2021/22
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Christine Cuskley
  • Owning School: English Lit, Language & Linguistics
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


This course provides a broad overview of the foundational issues with respect to experimental methodology in linguistics. Lectures will cover theoretical and philosophical considerations, methodological approaches and issues, and tools used in data collection. By the end of the course, students will be able to critically evaluate experimental research in linguistics, from both philosophical and methodological points of view. Alongside this, students will learn the basic skills necessary for carrying out their own experimental research project, including experimental design, data wrangling, and statistical analysis.

Outline Of Syllabus

The course will focus on general philosophical, methodological, practical, and ethical issues that arise in the course of research in linguistics. Topics will include: science communication, the scientific method, computational approaches to language and linguistic research, null hypothesis testing, tools for collecting experimental data (online and in-lab), and basic data wrangling and statistics. The course will also introduce students to specific methods and tools allowing them to undertake survey-based or experimental research, and independently design their own experimental menthods.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion421:0042:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture111:0011:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading701:0070:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching111:0011:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study551:0055:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesScheduled on-line contact time111:0011:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures present the module content.

The workshops will examine one or more particular aspects of that week's lectures in detail, either with respect to the theoretical or practical material. Small group teaching will focus on practical tools, skills, and software used in data collection, analysis, and presentation. Structured non-synchronous discussion will revolve around discussing issues arising in the set reading.

The drop-in/surgery sessions are for student consultation on the mid-semester and final assessments.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2M602500 word essay critically reviewing a specific experimental method
Essay2A401500 word research methods proposal
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The end of semester essay enables the students to demonstrate their engagement with the concepts presented during the course of the module.

The mid-semester assessment covers the more general philosophical and methodological issues, while the end-of-semester assessments tests the student's practical understanding of the general issues and ability to apply them creatively to their own novel experimental design.

Reading Lists