Skip to main content

Investigating Language


  • Credit value: 15 credits at Level 5
  • Convenor: Dr Jackie Jia Lou
  • Assessment: a 2500-word essay (100%)

Module description

In this module you will discover how research in linguistics is carried out: formulating research questions, selecting appropriate methodologies, and analysing and interpreting results and findings. You will gain an appreciation of the strengths and limitations of commonly used approaches to research on language, and the importance of the fit between the focus of study, methodology and context. We will explore these themes through engagement with primary research literature, with the aim of developing a critical perspective together with the practical skills needed to design and carry out research in linguistics.

You will work independently and in teams with other students to develop your understanding of the design and conduct of research projects. This module provides a suitable complement to the final-year project.

Indicative syllabus

  • Introduction to research methods
  • What is research and research ethics
  • Ethnographic and observational research
  • Interviews
  • Analysing spoken discourse
  • Analysing written discourse
  • Corpus approaches
  • Experimental design
  • Questionnaires and surveys
  • Statistical analysis

Learning objectives

By the end of this module, you will be able to:

  • understand and appreciate aspects of current research and/or current developments in scholarship within linguistics and its subdisciplines
  • appreciate limits of knowledge, and areas of uncertainty and ambiguity
  • manage your own learning, and identify and make appropriate use of a range of primary sources, such as refereed research papers and original materials.