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The University of Southampton

LING6067 iPhD Research Proposal in Applied Linguistics/ELT

Module Overview

At the end of the taught phase of the IPhD in Applied Linguistics/ELT, you will work under supervision towards the preparation of a doctoral research proposal. This is non-credit-bearing Masters-level module, however progression from year 1 of the IPhD (from the taught phase to the doctoral phase) is dependent upon successful completion of this proposal, which must be passed at 65% or higher.

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 (where relevant) policy debates relating to your topic.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • demonstrate understanding of specific, as well as general research skills appropriate to a research project at doctoral level. This includes advanced information search/retrieval techniques and a relevant 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;
  • critically assess some previous work on your chosen subject;
  • design an empirical research project in applied linguistics/English Language Teaching;
  • demonstrate originality of thought and approach which moves beyond a simple synthesis of secondary materials.


The IPhD proposal is an extended piece of work of 4,500 words, outlining the research questions and methodology for an independent doctoral research project.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

You learn primarily through research and independent study, accompanied by group meetings with the module coordinator, the PGR discussion group coordinator and individual tutorials with your PhD proposal supervisor. Group meetings provide a forum for discussion of possible topics and for addressing issues of common concern regarding project design. Individual supervisions address the scope of the project and design and methodology for investigation of the topic, and the structure of the proposal. Later meetings require you to have prepared a written section which will be discussed.

Independent Study144
Project supervision6
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Keith Richards, Steven Ross and Paul Seedhouse (2011). Research Methods for Applied Language Studies. 

Keith Richards (2003). Qualitative Inquiry in TESOL. 

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

Judith Bell (2018). Doing Your Research Project: A guide for first-time researchers in education and social science.. 

James Dean Brown and Theodore S. Rodgers  (2002). Doing Second Language Research. 


Assessment Strategy

The IPhD proposal must be passed at 65% or higher.


MethodPercentage contribution
Research proposal  (4500 words) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Research proposal  (4500 words) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Research proposal  (4500 words) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:


No additional costs have been associated with this module.

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

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