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.