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The University of Southampton

LING6017 Research Skills

Module Overview

The aims of this module are to further develop the research, study and time management skills you will need for a substantial independent research investigation.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

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

  • A specialist topic in applied linguistics/ English language teaching relevant to your personal interests and context
  • Current theoretical approaches relevant to your chosen topic
  • Current empirical studies, policies and/or practices relevant to your topic
  • Research methods and ethical issues relevant to the investigation of your topic
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Manage a substantial independent project
  • Search literature effectively and develop and maintain a bibliographic database
  • Write an effective reflective blog of work in progress
  • Act as ‘critical friend’ to colleagues through peer evaluation and support
  • Use information technology appropriately to support data collection and analysis
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Formulate a research problem and design a manageable independent study to investigate it
  • Conduct a systematic literature review
  • Develop appropriate data collection and analysis procedures
  • Reflect critically on the research process


This module provides you with support in identifying a topic and developing plans for your independent MA dissertation. The group activities of the module complement the individual supervision received from your dissertation tutor. You will further develop your library research and bibliographic skills and read in depth for your individual topic. You will develop a detailed plan for your dissertation project, and present this to both peers and tutors in oral and written form. You will receive formative feedback on your plans and give feedback to others in group discussion. In workshop sessions you will deepen your knowledge of relevant research skills including IT skills.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include • Tutor led seminars on aspects of project design • Small group sessions on field methods • Presentations of individual projects and discussion/ evaluation with tutors and peers • IT workshops Learning activities include • Identifying your area of interest and formulating your research problem • Library and internet research and development of your own specialised bibliography • Developing and sharing specific fieldwork skills relevant to your project • Keeping a reflective blog detailing the development of your project • Taking part in group evaluative discussions and acting as ‘critical friend’ to peers • Mastering relevant software packages

Independent Study126
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

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

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

Cohen, L, Manion, L and Morrison, K (2007). Research Methods in Education. 

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

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

Dörnyei, Z. (2007). Research methods in applied linguistics. 

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

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


Assessment Strategy

Assessments designed to provide informal, on-module feedback  Discussion with tutors of draft annotated bibliography and dissertation proposals  Group discussion and feedback arising from reflective blog  Peer evaluations of fieldwork plans and draft instruments  Exercises in IT workshops


MethodPercentage contribution
Annotated bibliography 50%
Dissertation proposal 40%
Reflective log 10%


MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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