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The University of Southampton

LING6059 Research and Enquiry in Applied Linguistics (for MSc Social Research Methods)

Module Overview

In this module, we explore some key concepts and ‘ways of knowing’ which are central to taking a research perspective on language learning and language teaching: the nature of theory, data, ‘truth’, idealisation, modelling, falsification etc. NB: This module is a 5 ECTS version of the module LING6001 Research and Enquiry in Applied Linguistics, and should only be taken by students on MSc Social Research Methods.

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 language classrooms, and choose among alternative approaches to small scale classroom research;
  • Assess the implications of theoretical and practical developments in applied linguistics for the education professions.
  • Use research techniques relevant for small scale applied linguistics research
  • Plan and carry out a small scale research investigation in the language classroom.
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
  • Develop and maintain a personal bibliography
  • Use information technology appropriately to present your research;
  • Take appropriate ethical issues into account in linguistic and educational work


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; - practical 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

Wider reading or practice30
Preparation for scheduled sessions12
Completion of assessment task20
Total study time100

Resources & Reading list

Hinkel, E ed (2005). Methods in second language research. Part II. Handbook of Research in Second Language Teaching and Learning. .

Ellis, R and Barkhuizen G. (2005). Analysing Learner Language. 

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

Brown, J D (1988). Understanding Research in Second Language Learning: A Teacher’s Guide to Statistics and Research Design. 

Brumfit, C and Mitchell, R eds (1990). Research in the Language Classroom. 

Bell, J (2010). Doing your Research Project: A guide for first-time researchers in education, health and social science.. 

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

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

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

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

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

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



MethodPercentage contribution
Research project  (3000 words) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Research project  (3000 words) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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