Skip to main navigationSkip to main content
The University of Southampton

LING6032 Dissertation

Module Overview

The MA dissertation gives you the opportunity to undertake an extended piece of independent research, with guidance from a supervisor.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

• undertake an extended piece of independent empirical research, with guidance from a supervisor; • develop a theoretical framework and research design relating to your chosen topic; • choose, apply and evaluate a range of relevant research procedures; • make a small scale original contribution to applied linguistics; • prepare for progression to doctoral research or other professional activity in which independent research is a component.

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
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;
  • demonstrate interpersonal skills whilst working with others in the investigation of problems, and in the presentation of arguments and evidence;
  • understand ethical and legal issues involved in applied linguistics research.
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.


The dissertation is an extended piece of work of 15,000-20,000 words, which results from independent empirical research on an applied linguistics 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 regular online meetings 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. Innovative or special features of this module: • review of progress in regular individual supervisions • individual feedback on outline of dissertation and draft chapters. The individual online meetings with your supervisor provide you with guidance on the identification and development of a research problem, the design of an overall research plan and the selection of appropriate methods for data gathering and data analysis.

Completion of assessment task594
Total study time600

Resources & Reading list

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

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

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

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



MethodPercentage contribution
Diligence and Initiative  (20000 words) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Share this module Share this on Facebook Share this on Twitter Share this on Weibo

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.