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The University of Southampton

LING6016 Dissertation (ALLT/ELT)

Module Overview

The Masters dissertation gives you the opportunity to undertake an extended piece of independent research in Applied Linguistics or English Language Teaching, with guidance from a supervisor.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

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

  • the topic you have selected in your chosen field of study;
  • relevant theoretical approaches applicable to your topic;
  • research design and techniques appropriate for your topic;
  • scholarly and policy debates relating to your topic.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • develop a sustained argument over an extended piece of work;
  • critically assess some previous work on your chosen subject;
  • design, implement and evaluate a small scale empirical research project in applied linguistics;
  • demonstrate originality of thought and approach which moves beyond a simple synthesis of secondary materials.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • demonstrate specific, as well as general, research skills, such as information retrieval and library searches and the use of a range of empirical fieldwork techniques;
  • use information technology appropriately to support and present your research
  • compose under deadline conditions an extended piece of writing which is logically structured, coherently argued, and clearly written, supported by a detailed bibliography;


The dissertation is an extended piece of work of 15,000 words, which results from independent research on an applied linguistics/ language teaching topic. The dissertation gives you the opportunity to explore a topic of particular interest to you in greater depth than is possible within the scope of a taught module.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

You learn primarily through research and independent study, accompanied by individual tutorials with your dissertation supervisor. In the early individual supervisions the scope of the project and design and methodology for investigation of the topic are agreed, and the structure of the finished dissertation is discussed. Later meetings require you to have prepared a section of the work and may focus on supervisor's feedback on draft sections of the dissertation. The tutorial supervision provides you with general and specific guidance and feedback on your theoretical framework, research design and fieldwork skills. In the written dissertation you will be expected to demonstrate the research skills and the intellectual ability required by the project.

Independent Study588
Total study time600

Resources & Reading list

Bell, J (1999). Doing Your Research Project: A guide for first-time researchers in education and social science. 

Scholfield, P (1995). Quantifying Language. 

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

Walliman, N (2001). Your Research Project: A step by step guide for the first-time researcher. 

Brown, J D and Rodgers, T S (2002). Doing Second Language Research. 


Assessment Strategy

Assessments designed to provide informal, on-module feedback - feedback arising from oral presentations of work in progress - review of progress in regular individual supervisions - individual feedback on outline of dissertation and draft chapters.


MethodPercentage contribution
Dissertation  (15000 words) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Revised Dissertation  (15000 words) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Dissertation  (15000 words) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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