module specification

LN7077 - Research Methods (2020/21)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2020/21
Module title Research Methods
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 20
School Guildhall School of Business and Law
Total study hours 200
200 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Oral Examination 50%   Poster presentation
Coursework 50%   2500 word research proposal
Running in 2020/21
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Spring semester LMET Distance Learning Not applicable -
Spring semester North Monday Afternoon

Module summary

This module explores the range of approaches, methods and traditions in research in Applied Linguistics used. Both quantitative research design with associated issues of validity, reliability and sampling, and a wide range of qualitative approaches to research in language and language teaching are introduced. Students examine the issues surrounding the use of questionnaires as research tools and the uses of interviewing in qualitative socio-linguistic research. Students investigate current approaches, issues and debates in classroom research, with a particular focus on classroom observations. They explore issues and current approaches to collecting and analysing spoken language data as well as, more broadly, communication research.
The main aim of this module is to prepare students for the Dissertation module that follows by giving them a solid grounding in both current research methodology in ELT and Applied Linguistics and the theoretical paradigms from which they arise and to understand, identify and evaluate different research methodologies.


The module will cover areas such as: 

Types of research and types of data; Quantitative approaches ;Questionnaires as research tools; Interviewing in qualitative research; Researching classrooms; Classroom observation; Researching discourse; Researching communication; Research processes and ethical issues. LO1,LO2,LO3,LO4,LO5

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

Students will have access to a dedicated module site where they will find learning activities and online forums. They will have access to the university library website and make use of electronic journals, ebooks, databases and full text journals. Support for developing and improving IT skills as well as information on other web based study support, is available on the library website. Students will have a nominated tutor who will support and guide them through the module and who they can consult by email, telephone or Skype.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will be able:

1) to identify a range of research methods that are used in language teaching, learning and other language-related disciplines
2) to critically consider, select and apply an appropriate research method for their own MA dissertation
3) select data collection  tools that are effective and appropriate to the purpose of their research
4) to identify various sources of reliable information and build up a relevant theoretical background to their research at an advanced level
5) to understand ethical considerations and issues in their research

Assessment strategy

The assessment element of the module is focused explicitly on developing an appropriate and manageable dissertation project, and considering how best to approach it in terms of research methods, objectives and potential outcomes.

Formative assessment takes the form of an online poster presentation where students post their research topic with the key aspects of the proposed research study. Building on the tutor and peer feedback they develop a proposal.

The summative component of assessment is the written research proposal which will demonstrate their understanding of the research methods and issues explored in the module and applied to the design of a viable and methodologically well-founded study.


Books and journal articles:

Alwright, D. (1993) Observation in the language classroom. London: Longman.
Bazeley, P. (2013) Qualitative data analysis: Practical strategies. London: Sage.
Blommaert, J. & Dong, J. (2010) Ethnographic fieldwork: A beginner’s guide. Bristol: Multilingual Matters.
Burns, A. (2005) State of the art article: Action research, an evolving paradigm? Language Teaching, vol. 38 (2), 57-74.
Cameron, D. (2001) Working with spoken discourse. London: Sage.
Cohen, L., Manion, L. & Morrison, K. (2011) Research methods in education. 7th edition. London: Routledge.
Cresswell, J. (2013) Research design: Qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods. 4th edition. London: Sage.
Cresswell, J. (2013) Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five approaches. London: Sage.
Dornyei, Z. (2010) Questionnaires in second language research. 2nd edition. New York: Routledge.
Dornyei, Z. (2007) Research methods in applied linguistics. Oxford: OUP.
      Litosseliti, L. (2010) Research Methods in Linguistics. London: Continuum.
      Riazi, M. (2017) Mixed Methods Research in Language Teaching and Learning. London:        Equinox Publishing.

ELT Journal
International Journal of Applied Linguistics
Journal of Applied Linguistics
Canadian Journal of Applied Linguistics
Modern Journal of Applied Linguistics
The Modern Language Journal
Journal of Language Teaching and Research
Language Learning Journal
TESOL Journal
The Linguistics Journal
Research in Education
Research in Language and Social Interaction

BERA (British Educational Research Association)
HERA (Humanities in the European Research Area
BAAL  (British Association for Applied Linguistics)