Understanding Data in Linguistics

PLEASE NOTE: This module is inactive. Visit the Module Directory to view modules and variants offered during the current academic year.

The details
Language and Linguistics
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 4
Monday 15 January 2024
Friday 22 March 2024
26 January 2023


Requisites for this module



Key module for

BA LQ31 English Language and Sociology

Module description

This module aims to introduce students to the empirical foundations of linguistics. When we have a question about language - its structure, function, use - how do we go about answering it? We will explore methods for gathering data, from interviews and questionnaires, to documentary fieldwork, corpora and controlled experiments, and the suitability of each method to different types of questions. Practical and ethical aspects of working with language data will also be considered.

Module aims

This module will equip students with the skills to understand cutting edge research being carried out in the field of linguistics, as well as to begin to identify and develop their own research interests.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of the module, students should be able to:
• Identify research questions related to linguistics
• Identify and understand different types of data
• Understand a range of methodologies used to carry out research in linguistics
• Understand the life cycle of a research project

Module information

No additional information available.

Learning and teaching methods

The 10 x two-hour sessions. These two-hour sessions will combine discussion and practical tasks.


  • Austin, P. (2010b) 'Current issues in language documentation', Language Documentation and Description, 7, pp. 12–33. Available at: http://www.elpublishing.org/docs/1/07/ldd07_02.pdf.
  • Chelliah, S.L. (2001b) 'The role of text collection and elicitation in linguistic fieldwork', in P. Newman and M. Ratliff (eds) Linguistic Fieldwork. Cambridge University Press, pp. 152–165. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511810206.008.
  • Phelan, M. and Dawson, H. (eds) (2016) Language Files: Materials for an Introduction to Language and Linguistics. 12th edn. Columbus, US: Ohio State University Press.
  • 'Endangered languages: why it matters | Mandana Seyfeddinipur | TEDxLSHTM - YouTube' (no date). Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D7HZOsQYx_U&t=17s.
  • Beavers and Sells (2013) 'Constructing and supporting a linguistic analysis', in R. Podesva (ed.) Research methods in linguistics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 397–421.
The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course.
The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students.
Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting

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 Rebecca Clift, email: rclift@essex.ac.uk.
Dr Hannah Gibson, email: h.gibson@essex.ac.uk.
Dr Yuni Kim, Dr Connor Youngberg, Renato Pavlekovic, Ehsan Solaimani Dahanesari
Rebecca Clift - rclift@essex.ac.uk, 4.332. Hannah Gibson - h.gibson@essex.ac.uk, 4.317



External examiner

No external examiner information available for this module.
Available via Moodle
Of 7 hours, 7 (100%) hours available to students:
0 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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