Skip to main content


SEL2229 : Experimental Methods in Linguistics

  • Offered for Year: 2020/21
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Christine Cuskley
  • Lecturer: Dr Geoffrey Poole
  • 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 pre-Easter period will focus on more general philosophical and methodological issues that arise in the course of research in linguistics. Topics will include: realism in science, the scientific method, the I-language/E-language distinction, language vs. language use, computational approaches to language and linguistic research, null hypothesis testing, experimental data collection methods in linguistics, tools for collecting experimental data (online and in-lab).

The post-Easter period will focus on preparing the students to undertake either a structured critique of the methods of a specific existing paper or a detailed methods section for a hypothetical study.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion401:0040:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture221:0022:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading701:0070:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops111:0011:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery31:003:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study541:0054:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures present the module content.

The workshops in any given week examine one of more particular aspects of that week's lectures in detail, either with respect to the theoretical or practical material.

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 on pre-Easter material
Essay2A401500 word research methods critique/proposal
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The end of semester essay enables the students to demonstrate their engagement with the subjects 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 to a specific context.

Reading Lists