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MA Ed dissertation: applied linguistics

The dissertation in applied linguistics module builds on your learning by extending your repertoire of skills in empirical research design. It offers you the opportunity to carry out a small-scale research project in a formal or informal educational context in which you explore the role of language in teaching and learning. The specific focus of your project is chosen in consultation with your tutor, and must be within the practical scope of the degree programme. 

Vocational relevance

On completion of the MA Ed in Applied Linguistics, you will have a qualification which is increasingly required for entry to, and promotion in, various language-related professions, as well as being able to progress onto EdD or PhD programmes. 


EE819 is a compulsory module in our:


Module code


  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
Study level
Across the UK, there are two parallel frameworks for higher education qualifications, the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications in England, Northern Ireland and Wales (FHEQ) and the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF). These define a hierarchy of levels and describe the achievement expected at each level. The information provided shows how OU postgraduate modules correspond to these frameworks.
OU Postgraduate
Study method
Distance learning
Find out more in Why the OU?
Module cost
See Module registration
Entry requirements

Find out more about entry requirements.

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What you will study

This module is divided into four sections which guide you through the process of designing, carrying out and evaluating a small-scale research project into a teaching and learning context with which you are familiar. You do not need to be employed in a formal educational setting to study this module.  However, you will need to be able to apply your learning to a relevant context or learning environment.

In the first section, Getting started, you will learn about the nature of applied linguistics research within education, explore some of the relevant theoretical issues and terminology, and consider the importance of empirical research in this field. At this stage, you will also be guided to consider the scope of your own small-scale study, to choose an appropriate topic and, with reference to the research literature, to formulate your research questions.

Section 2, Research approaches and methods, allows you to explore a range of research designs and methods for collecting data. We recognise that students come to this module with different interests and experiences, and so this section is designed to enable you to choose what you are interested in studying.

You can learn more about the research approaches of your choice, from among linguistic ethnography, case study and action research, as well as quantitative and longitudinal methodologies; and you can focus on the research methods that interest you, including observation, questionnaires, interviews, and written data analysis. You will also explore the ethical issues associated with applied linguistics research in education.

In Section 3, Analysing and presenting your data, you will be guided through the issues related to analysing the data you have collected and presenting your findings.

Finally, in Section 4, Writing your dissertation, you will learn about planning, structure and writing style, as well as developing a suitable abstract for your study.

In guiding you to design, carry out and write about your own small-scale research project, the module aims to stimulate critical analysis, debate and reflection, rather than providing cut-and-dried solutions. 

The module is also designed to be inclusive, incorporating a range of international contexts and informal as well as formal education roles and settings, and drawing on generic ideas applicable across sectors and settings. This relates to a third principle, that of valuing diversity. The module recognises that significant insights and new understandings can come not just from comparing ideas with those in institutions that are similar to ours, but also from comparing views and perspectives with colleagues in different countries, settings, sectors and professional groups.

This module is therefore designed for a diversity of participants from a wide range of countries and professional settings, forming a rich community of learners.

You will learn

The aims of this module are to:

  • provide theoretical and practical understanding of established techniques of enquiry in the field of applied linguistics research
  • support you to carry out a small-scale study in an area of interest to you, either at your workplace or in a suitable formal or informal educational context
  • guide you in writing about your study as you carry it out, and bringing it all together into a 12,000-word dissertation.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You will have a tutor who will help you with the study material, and mark and comment on your written work, and whom you can ask for advice and guidance. Your tutor is also responsible for advising you as you design and carry out your small-scale research project and write your 12,000-word dissertation. You and your tutor will primarily communicate with each other through email, forums and tutorials. Tutorials are offered via online meeting rooms and support is also facilitated asynchronously in tutor group forums.

It’s not a compulsory requirement for you to interact or collaborate with others in your tutor group to pass this module, but we do encourage you to share ideas and experiences with your peers through asynchronous forums. There may be some activities that recommend working with other students as this is an important way in which you can broaden your knowledge and understanding of children, young people and education across different contexts. However, alternative ways of working can be facilitated.

Contact us if you want to know more about study with The Open University before you register.


The assessment details for this module can be found in the facts box above.

You must use the online eTMA system to submit your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs).

Course work includes

2 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
End-of-module assessment
No residential school

Future availability

MA Ed dissertation: applied linguistics starts once a year – in October.

This page describes the module that will start in October 2022. We expect it to start for the last time in October 2024.


As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the academic regulations which are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website.

    Entry requirements

    You must have passed or be waiting for your result from Language, literacy and learning (EE818).

    You need to be able to spend approximately 12-15 hours per week on studying for this module.

    If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, please speak to an adviser.


    Start End Fee Register
    01 Oct 2022 Oct 2023 Not yet available

    Registration closes 15/09/22 (places subject to availability)

    This module is expected to start for the last time in October 2024.

    Future availability

    MA Ed dissertation: applied linguistics starts once a year – in October.

    This page describes the module that will start in October 2022. We expect it to start for the last time in October 2024.

    Additional costs

    Study costs

    There may be extra costs on top of the tuition fee, such as set books, a computer and internet access.

    Ways to pay for this module

    We know there’s a lot to think about when choosing to study, not least how much it’s going to cost and how you can pay.

    That’s why we keep our fees as low as possible and offer a range of flexible payment and funding options, including a postgraduate loan, if you study this module as part of an eligible qualification. To find out more, see Fees and funding.

    Study materials

    What's included

    All study materials are provided on the module website.

    Computing requirements

    You'll need a desktop or laptop computer with an up-to-date version of 64-bit Windows 10 (note that Windows 7 is no longer supported) or macOS and broadband internet access.

    To join in spoken conversations in tutorials we recommend a wired headset (headphones/earphones with a built-in microphone).

    Our module websites comply with web standards and any modern browser is suitable for most activities.

    Our OU Study mobile App will operate on all current, supported, versions of Android and iOS. It's not available on Kindle.

    It's also possible to access some module materials on a mobile phone, tablet device or Chromebook, however, as you may be asked to install additional software or use certain applications, you'll also require a desktop or laptop as described above.

    If you have a disability

    If you have particular study requirements please tell us as soon as possible, as some of our support services may take several weeks to arrange. Visit our Disability support website to find more about what we offer.