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The University of Southampton

LING6001 Research and Enquiry in Applied Linguistics

Module Overview

In this module, we explore some key concepts and ‘ways of knowing’ which are central to taking a research perspective on language use, learning and teaching: the nature of theory, data, ‘truth’, idealisation, modelling, falsification etc.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • the scope and goals of applied linguistics as an academic discipline;
  • different approaches to knowledge, truth and the nature of research in applied linguistics;
  • the main traditions and techniques of research on language use, teaching and learning;
  • how to challenge professional practice, and undertake improvement-orientated enquiry
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • recognise the significance of alternative epistemological positions in applied linguistics and the social sciences, and their relationship with theory construction, research design, and the selection of analytical techniques;
  • make use of the relationship between academic, professional, public and user conceptions of language to clarify educational policy and practice;
  • formulate researchable problems in applied linguistics and choose among alternative approaches to small scale applied linguistics and language classroom research;
  • assess the implications of theoretical and practical developments in applied linguistics for 'real world problems' including the education professions.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • communicate applied linguistic work in a variety of written formats;
  • identify, select and draw upon a wide range of primary and secondary sources, printed and electronic;
  • demonstrate interpersonal skills whilst working with others in the investigation of problems, and in the presentation of arguments and evidence;
  • take appropriate ethical issues into account in linguistic and educational work.
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • use research techniques relevant for small scale applied linguistics research;
  • Plan and carry out a small scale research investigation in the language classroom.


Topics covered will include: • Applied linguistics as an Academic Discipline and Research Field • Research Approaches in Applied Linguistics • Theory and Data in Applied Linguistics • Representation of Language and the Role of Transcription • Introduction to Quantitative Methods in Applied Linguistics • Qualitative and Ethnographic Approaches to Research in Applied Linguistics • Research on Classroom Language • Research Techniques in Applied Linguistics: Interviews, Observations, Surveys

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include • structured seminars for which you will prepare mainly through prior reading; • workshops using a variety of tasks and materials; • virtual learning environment (Blackboard). Learning activities include • Reflection on professional needs and articulation of personal study goals and targets; • Identification of relevant research resources in the library and on internet; • Group practical work e.g. trialling and evaluating different research instruments, group discussion and informal presentations; • Individual reading; • Design, implementation and reporting of small scale classroom investigation; • Take appropriate ethical issues into account in linguistic and educational work.

Independent Study110
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Walsh, S.  (2011). Exploring classroom discourse: language in action. 

Bell, J (1999). Doing your research project: a guide for first-time researchers in education and social science. 

Richards, K., Ross, S. J., & Seedhouse, P.  (2012). Research Methods for Applied Language Studies. 

Bailey, K M and Nunan, D (eds) (1996). Voices from the Language Classroom. 

Allwright, D and Bailey, K M (1991). Focus on the Language Classroom. 

Dornyei, Z  (2007). Research Methods in Applied Linguistics. 

Nunan, D (1989). Understanding Language Classrooms: A guide for teacher-initiated action. 

Richards, K (2003). Qualitative Inquiry in TESOL. 

Mackey, A and Gass, S M  (2005). Second Language Research: Methodology and design. 

Brumfit, C J & Mitchell, R F (eds) (1990). Research in the Language Classroom. 

McDonough, J and McDonough, S (1997). Research Methods for English Language Teachers. 

Cohen, L, Manion, L and Morrison, K (2017). Research Methods in Education. 



MethodPercentage contribution
Research project  (3000 words) 60%
Research review  (1500 words) 40%


MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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