MA Linguistics

Year of entry: 2020

Course unit details:
Research Methods II (Linguistics)

Unit code LELA60002
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Linguistics & English Language
Available as a free choice unit? No


This course is designed to equip you with advanced skills in conducting and presenting linguistic research. It complements LELA60001. The focus is on methods of data analysis, on the design of research projects, and on the key academic genres through which linguists communicate their ideas and findings to a professional audience: the research proposal, and the research presentation.


The principal aims of the course unit are as follows:

• to survey current techniques of data analysis across a variety of linguistic disciplines

• to address best fit of research questions and methods of analysis

• to learn how to design a research project compliant with ethical guidelines

• to introduce and provide practice in presenting research findings orally and in writing successful research proposals


  • Writing a research proposal
  • Research ethics
  • Experimental design
  • Quantitative analysis
  • Statistics for linguists
  • Preparing and delivering an oral presentation
  • Careers in linguistics: academic publishing and grant applications
  • Careers in linguistics outside of academia
  • Public engagement in linguistics

Teaching and learning methods

  • one 90-minute plenary session per week
  • attendance at no fewer than three of the Linguistics and English Language seminars during the semester
  • attendance of the SALC Ethics Training Units

Knowledge and understanding

By the end of this course students will be able to:

  • identify interesting research topics and formulate appropriate research questions
  • understand the range of data analysis techniques available to linguists and select appropriate methods for specific research projects
  • understand the problems surrounding Research Ethics

Intellectual skills

By the end of this course students will be able to:

  • design a research project, including assessing the extent to which a research proposal is topical and feasible
  • evaluate the fit between research questions and data analysis methods in linguistics
  • understand how linguistics fits in with career opportunities and applies to the wider public

Practical skills

By the end of this course students will be able to:

  • write research proposal in linguistics, following appropriate academic conventions
  • communicate their research findings in the form of an academic presentation
  • select and apply appropriate methods of data analysis

Transferable skills and personal qualities

By the end of this course students will be able to:

  • write coherent and effective (research) proposals
  • orally present on a (research) project
  • use statistically methods for analysis
  • judge and set an appropriate time frame for executing a project

Assessment methods

Research proposal (MA dissertation outline) 2,500 words, 50%

Oral presentation, 20 minutes (weeks 11 and 12) 50%

Feedback methods

Written comments on the research proposal, plus face-to-face discussion if desired (on the understanding that this deanonymizes the marking)

Peer feedback and feedback from the tutor on presentation in presentation workshop; written comments after the presentation

Recommended reading

Bauer, Laurie. 2007. The linguistic student's handbook. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Macaulay, Monica. 2011. Surviving linguistics: a guide for graduate students, 2nd edn. Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Press.

Podesva, Robert J. & Devyani Sharma (eds.). 2013. Research methods in linguistics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Readings for individual sessions TBC by the individual tutors

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 20.5
Independent study hours
Independent study 129.5

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Tine Breban Unit coordinator

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