EDM195-Research Approaches to Second Language Learning and Teaching

Module Provider: Institute of Education
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2021/2

Module Convenor: Dr Anthony Zhang
Email: anthony.zhang@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

This module focuses on developing the understanding of research approaches used in the field of second language learning and teaching. Students will study relevant academic terminologies in detail and will practise reflecting critically upon the research articles of authors in the field. They will also receive training in basic concepts and research methods as relevant for second language learning and teaching. We will discuss what the role of theory is in second language related research, what hypotheses are, and how key concepts can be operationalised and measured. We will also discuss what the common research instruments are and how these instruments can be applied in second language learning and teaching. The assignment consists of a 3000 word essay plus a 10 minute presentation.


The intention of this module is to provide a foundation of master’s level research skills and knowledge for students who are interested in second language learning and teaching. While the content of the module will be M level, it will also act as a vehicle to develop essential research knowledge, specialist linguistic terminology, and analytical skills relevant to the study of second language learning and teaching. Examples of empirical studies using different research methods will be used discussed in depth to sharpen students’ analytical abilities as well as their ability to understand the research approaches to second language learning and teaching. Students will be given an opportunity and guided to conduct a mini research project on a topic which is relevant to second language learning and teaching.

Assessable learning outcomes:

In relation to the study of English Language and Education, by the end of the module students will be able to:

  1. understand and refer to essential linguistic terminology and concepts, i.e. use the appropriate metalanguage;

  2. understand the structure of academic articles and apply the conventions of academic writing;

  3. develop skills in reading original research reports;

  4. critically evaluate their reading in terms of the quality of argumentation and evidence versus opinion;

  5. understand fundamental concepts in quantitative and qualitative research in the field of second language learning and teaching

  6. understand examples of best practice in investigating language teaching and learning;

Additional outcomes:

The improvement of listening and speaking skills through interaction with tutors and fellow students. Through a positive learning environment, the development of confidence to participate actively in modules across the master’s programme.

Outline content:

  1. Academic terminologies in second language research

  2. Basic research design in second language learning and teaching

  3. Reading research papers (critical evaluation, evidence versus opinion);

  4. Relating theory to data in second language research

  5. Analysing good practice in researching language teaching and learning;

  6. Presenting research work: Practising writing up a critical analysis of a research paper

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

  • Interactive seminars

  • Group discussions

  • Practical tasks in pairs and groups (e.g. analysis of linguistic data)

  • Presentations

  • On-line tasks will be made available through Blackboard

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 12
Seminars 12
Tutorials 2
Practicals classes and workshops 6
Guided independent study:      
    Wider reading (independent) 100
    Preparation for presentations 30
    Completion of formative assessment tasks 8
    Carry-out research project 30
Total hours by term 0 0
Total hours for module 200

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 70
Oral assessment and presentation 30

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Students must produce an individual 10 minute presentation and an essay of 3,000 words.

Formative assessment methods:

Students must produce an individual 10 minute presentation and an essay of 3,000 words.

Penalties for late submission:

The below information applies to students on taught programmes except those on Postgraduate Flexible programmes. Penalties for late submission, and the associated procedures, which apply to Postgraduate Flexible programmes are specified in the policy “Penalties for late submission for Postgraduate Flexible programmes”, which can be found here: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/files/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmissionPGflexible.pdf
The Support Centres will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.
The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

Assessment requirements for a pass:


Reassessment arrangements:

Resubmissions must be submitted within one calendar month of the notification of failure.

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: 28 October 2021


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