LSMRDM-Research Design Methods

Module Provider: English Language and Applied Linguistics
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Level:7
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Pre-requisites:
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Co-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2018/9

Module Convenor: Dr Michael Daller

Email: m.daller@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:
This module aims to introduce and discuss in broad terms the more frequently used research designs and research techniques in English language teaching and Applied Linguistics. It describes and exemplifies the nature of academic research in general, and the features that are seen as desirable in such research. It outlines different types of, and approaches to, research in the field and describes the main elements of a research study in terms of questions, hypotheses (where relevant),and variables (where relevant).

Aims:
The module aims to:
- introduce the issues which researchers have to be aware of in relation to conducting valid and reliable research;
- describe and exemplify key techniques for data-gathering and data-organisation used by researchers conducting quantitative (eg, experimental) and qualitative (eg, ethnographic) research;
- introduce students to some basic principles and techniques in descriptive and inferential statistics;
- introduce students to some key ethical questions in relation to the conduct of research
- outline the key elements of a dissertation, and important considerations in the dissertation-writing process.

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of the module, it is expected that the student will be able to demonstrate a critical understanding of the principles of research design, and an ability to evaluate research design. Students are able to demonstrate awareness of the key principles behind designing effective research instruments and to discuss what distinguishes academic research from other types of enquiry. other assessable outcomes may include the ability to:

- list some key desirable characteristics in research in our field
- name and define the main types of quantitative and qualitative research adopted within the field of applied linguistics and the sub-field of TESOL
- discuss the main features, merits and disadvantages, of qualitative and quantitative research
- list key factors that may influence the internal and external reliability and validity of a research study
- list and describe some of the most important ways of eliciting language data.

Additional outcomes:
Additional outcomes may include an ability to:

- describe data quantitatively in terms of measures of central tendency and dispersion
- discuss the parametric and non-parametric tests which are most frequently used to show relationships between/among variables and differences between groups, such as product-moment and rank order correlations, t-tests, ANOVA, and chi-squared tests, and describe the situations in which their use would be appropriate
- summarise the key recommendations of the British Association of Applied Linguistics in relation to the ethical handling of research subjects and data
- list and define the main parts of a dissertation and their relationship to the research process
- produce an organised and clearly written research proposal (dissertation track)/critical analysis of research methods (taught and portfolio tracks) of around 2,500 words. The former will present at least the rationale, theoretical background, aims, questions, the proposed method and analytical approach and the 'time-line' of the research. The latter will do a critical analysis and evaluation of some relevant literature on research methods.

Outline content:
The following topics will be introduced and discussed: definitions and types of research; the research process; starting-points and general requirements of research; research instruments; qualitative and quantitative data and analysis; ethics and ethical issues; and organising and writing up research.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods: This module runs over 6 weeks and consists of two 2-hour lectures each week and a three hour seminar in the last week dedicated to discussing the assessment tasks.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 20
Seminars 2
Demonstration 3
Practicals classes and workshops 1
Guided independent study 174
       
Total hours by term 197.00 3.00
       
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 100

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:
One of the two possible options below (both are Coursework)

- Dissertation track: A proposal (2,000-2,500 words) describing the research design and research plans of a proposed study
OR
- Taught and Portfolio tracks: A critical evaluation (2,000-2,500 words) of one study/two studies in terms of their research design and use of research instruments

Formative assessment methods:
Feedback on the topics and research focus

Penalties for late submission:

As specified by University regulations

Assessment requirements for a pass:
A mark of 50% overall

Reassessment arrangements:
Re-examination by coursework to be submitted by 1 September.

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
1) Required text books:
2) Specialist equipment or materials:
3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
4) Printing and binding:
5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

Last updated: 20 April 2018

THE INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THIS MODULE DESCRIPTION DOES NOT FORM ANY PART OF A STUDENT'S CONTRACT.

Things to do now