Research methods for language and linguistics

The details
Language and Linguistics
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 5
Monday 13 January 2025
Friday 21 March 2025
18 December 2023


Requisites for this module



Key module for

BA QX31 Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL),
BA QX41 Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) (Including Foundation Year),
BA QX51 Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) (Including Placement Year),
BA QXH1 Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) (Including Year Abroad),
BA QQ13 English Language and Linguistics,
BA QQ15 English Language and Linguistics (Including Placement Year),
BA QQ16 English Language and Linguistics (Including Foundation Year),
BA QQ3D English Language and Linguistics (Including Year Abroad),
MLINQA15 English Language and Lingistics (Including Placement Year),
MLINQA16 English Language and Linguistics (Including Year Abroad),
MLINQQ14 English Language and Linguistics,
BA QQ23 English Language and Literature,
BA QQ24 English Language and Literature (Including Foundation Year),
BA QQ32 English Language and Literature (Including Year Abroad),
BA QQ35 English Language and Literature (Including Placement Year),
BA Q100 Linguistics,
BA Q101 Linguistics (Including Year Abroad),
BA Q102 Linguistics (Including Foundation Year),
BA Q103 Linguistics (Including Placement Year),
BA RQ93 Modern Languages and English Language,
BA RQ99 Modern Languages and English Language (5 Years Including Foundation Year),
BA RQ91 Modern Languages and Linguistics,
BA RQ98 Modern Languages and Linguistics (5 Years Including Foundation Year),
BA R8T8 Modern Languages and Teaching English as a Foreign Language (5 Years Including Foundation Year),
BA RX91 Modern Languages and Teaching English as a Foreign Language,
BA QP10 English Language with Media Communication,
BA QP11 English Language with Media Communication (Including Year Abroad),
BA QP12 English Language with Media Communication (Including Placement Year),
BA QP13 English Language with Media Communication (Including Foundation Year),
BA Q120 Linguistics with Data Science,
BA Q121 Linguistics with Data Science (Including Foundation Year),
BA Q122 Linguistics with Data Science (Including Placement Year),
BA Q123 Linguistics with Data Science (Including Year Abroad),
BA R114 Language Studies and Linguistics,
BA R115 Language Studies and Linguistics (Including Foundation Year),
BA R116 Language Studies and Teaching English as a Foreign Language,
BA R117 Language Studies and Teaching English as a Foreign Language (Including Foundation Year)

Module description

The module provides an introduction to research methods in language and linguistics. It familiarises students with the steps involved in undertaking a research project in language and linguistics: reviewing the literature, formulating research questions and hypotheses, choosing a suitable research design, data collection methods and analysis techniques, and reporting findings.

Module aims

The module is aimed at enabling students to develop their own research project, that is, the final-year linguistics project. This aim will be achieved by introducing students to the conventional structure and sections of a research report, including the purposes of each section, by offering practice in identifying and formulating research questions and/or hypotheses, and by offering an overview of research designs and methods, including data collection methods/instruments and data analysis methods and tools.

Module learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, students will have achieved the following:
(1) Awareness of basic concepts in linguistics research, different research designs, methods, data collection and analysis tools;
(2) Ability to write a literature review;
(3) Ability to identify and formulate research questions/hypotheses
(4) Ability to choose a research design, data collection techniques and analysis methods that are suitable and appropriate for addressing specific research questions/hypotheses;
(5) Awareness of how to structure and write a research report.

Module information


1. Research in language and linguistics: Basic concepts (LL – Week 16)
Theory and data; research questions and hypotheses; reviewing literature; how to arrive at research questions and/or hypothesis based on the literature.

2. Writing a literature review (LL – Week 17)
Summarising and critical evaluation; how to prepare a literature review; what (not) to do when drafting a literature review.

3. Introduction to research methods (AGG – Week 18)
General characteristics of quantitative, qualitative and mixed-methods research; types of research design: longitudinal vs. cross-sectional; advantages and disadvantages of each; research quality: validity and reliability; research ethics; piloting.

4. Data collection instruments: Language data (KRB – Week 19)
Naturalistic vs. elicited data; common data sources: (a) acceptability judgements, (b) response times, (c) elicited production, (d) corpora; examples of tasks (for a-c) and resulting data associated with each instrument/data source.

5. Data collection instruments: Participant data (KRB – Week 20)
Collecting background information for descriptive purposes: demographic questionnaires; participant data as research variables: behavioural and attitudinal questionnaires, oral interviews.

Quiz – week 21

6. Quantitative research methods: Tools for statistical data analysis (KRB – Week 21)
Introduction to basic concepts (variables, hypotheses, statistical significance, etc.) and analytical tools for quantitative analysis (descriptive and inferential statistics).

7. Data analysis with Excel (2-hour lab session; CDL – Week 22)
Using Excel: Basic descriptive and inferential statistics; tables and graphs; the notion of statistical significance.

8. Qualitative research methods: Data management and analysis (AGG – Week 23)
Introduction to basic concepts in qualitative research (e.g., reflexivity, context, thick description, transcription, coding). Introduction to analytical software and tools for qualitative data management and analysis (e.g., NVivo, Elan, CMaps, CLAN).

9. Research design: Answering research questions (AGG – Week 24)
Looking at the overall strategy for answering research questions: How the different components of the study relate to each other and contribute to addressing the research topic and issues.

10. Writing a research report (LL – Week 25)
Overall presentation and organisation of a research paper, typical sections and their purposes, referencing.

11. Preparing for your final-year project (NM – Week 30)
One-hour lecture only

Quiz – week 31

12. Applying for ethical approval for your final-year project EJ (wk 31)
One-hour lecture only

Learning and teaching methods

There will be 10 X two-hour classes per week comprising a mixture of lecture-style and seminar-style teaching and learning activities. Session 7 consists of a two-hour lab session taught in three smaller groups. There will be two one-hour classes during the Summer term (weeks 30 and 31).


This module does not appear to have a published bibliography for this year.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Coursework   Moodle Quiz 1    15% 
Coursework   Moodle Quiz 2    15% 
Coursework   Extended project proposal    70% 

Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Stamatia Savvani, email: stamatia.savvani@essex.ac.uk.
Stamatia Savvani, Laurie Lawyer, Karen Roehr-Brackin, Kyle Jerro, Neophytos Misigkas
Dr Stamatia Savvani stamatia.savvani@essex.ac.uk, Room 4.206, Number 4267



External examiner

Mr Conrad Hechter Heyns
Goldsmiths, University of London
Director - Centre for Academic Language and Literacies
Available via Moodle
Of 26 hours, 22 (84.6%) hours available to students:
4 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s), module, or event type.


Further information
Language and Linguistics

* Please note: due to differing publication schedules, items marked with an asterisk (*) base their information upon the previous academic year.

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