EL5019 - Critical Approaches to Language Study

What will I learn on this module?

On this module, you will develop the knowledge and skills you need to undertake an independent research study. The module will help you prepare for the dissertation module, particularly if you are going to do an empirical study.

You will have the choice of investigating any language/linguistic topic and you will be able to advance your understanding of research design and implementation through critical evaluation of research methods. This will sometimes involve looking at a news story about a piece of linguistic research and the original research, and exploring how scientific results are sometimes misrepresented in the media. At the end, you will be able to understand and evaluate studies conducted by others as well as be able to design an experiment to answer a research question of your choice. Research skills will enhance your employability skills.

How will I learn on this module?

The module will be delivered over a 12-week period through a combination of interactive lectures, IT workshops and seminars. The lectures will introduce key approaches, themes and concepts to research design and management. The seminars will give you the opportunity to apply these key concepts to the analysis of research studies. This will sometimes involve looking at a news story about a piece of linguistic research and the original research, and exploring how scientific results are sometimes misrepresented in the media. It will also involve looking at studies and evaluating the appropriateness of data collection and analysis techniques used in the original research. The seminars will allow further group working, discussion and debate. The IT workshops will be a combination of hands-on tasks to data analysis. All topics and debates within the module will be supported by reference to relevant literature, which you will read outside of class to further develop your knowledge and understanding of the field.

In addition to learning during taught hours with the module tutor, you will be expected to undertake both directed and independent learning. Directed learning generally will take the form of preparation for seminars where you will be expected to contribute to group work and full class discussion. Independent learning generally will take the form of further reading and investigation, the consolidation of seminar notes, and revision/preparation for the assessment of the module.

All learning materials, tasks and readings will be posted on the eLP (e-learning portal) to facilitate full participation in the module. Additionally, you will receive formative feedback on your ideas and on your teaching tasks to help you reflect in your final assessment. The module’s final, summative assessment will also provide an opportunity for learning.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

The emphasis in this module is on methodological approaches to the study of language and linguistics. Sessions will be carefully formatted to ensure clear progress through content, with opportunities for substantial practice provided throughout.

Thus, lectures, seminars and tasks will develop your academic knowledge and skills, to help you attain the module learning outcomes. Your academic development will also be facilitated through engagement with the academic literature and by talking with your peers and the module tutor about your understanding of this literature (i.e. reading around the topic, and discussing and reflecting upon what you have read).

You will complete a series of tasks during the seminars and the IT workshop to gain a better insight into the different options available for data collection and analysis, for example, differences between interviews and focus groups and why researchers might choose to collect data using one method rather than the other.

The module handbook provides details of lectures, seminars, reading lists and assessment criteria; lecture materials are made available on the eLP (see above). The module tutor will be available in lectures and seminars, as well as during ‘Feedback and consultation hours’ (i.e. ‘office hours’) and by email, to discuss any queries or concerns you have about how to excel academically on the module. Formative feedback will be on-going through seminar/workshop activities. Formative feedback will also be provided on your reflective essay and critique plans, prior to completion of the module’s formative assessments.

In addition, you have a designated Guidance Tutor throughout the entire duration of your programme. The academic side of the Guidance Tutor’s role includes: monitoring your ongoing academic progress; helping you to develop self-reflection skills necessary for continuous academic development; directing you to further available services which can help you with your academic skills (e.g. Library’s Skills Plus). You are advised to see your Guidance Tutor at least twice each semester to review your academic progress.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team – http://library.northumbria.ac.uk/readinglists)

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:

1. Demonstrate the ability to introduce and explain the stages of formulating valid research questions

2. Be able to introduce different data collection techniques and explain the pros and cons of each technique according to the aim of the research

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:

3. Demonstrate the ability to explore different approaches to data analysis (qualitative, quantitative, mixed)

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):

4. Show your awareness and understanding of ethical issues and how to address them in research.

How will I be assessed?

Formative assessment

You will present your ideas and will carry out teaching tasks during seminars and lectures and you will receive formative feedback from the module tutor and peers on any perspectives you share. Such formative feedback will enable you to test and form your own understanding of a range of approaches to research design and data management.

Summative (graded) Assessments

The assessment for this module consists of two parts:

1. A 1,500-word critique: You will be expected to critically review two studies relevant to your field of interest and to evaluate/ compare research design and implementation in these two studies. You will need to demonstrate your understanding of the different approaches by critically evaluating the suitability of the chosen methods to answering the research question

2. A 1,500-word research strategy report/plan: you will be asked to formulate a research question and write up a research plan on how you intend to answer the question/s.





Module abstract

Please find details of this module in the other sections provided.

Course info

UCAS Code Q310

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years full-time or 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Humanities

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing.

Full time Courses starting in 2023 are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but may include elements of online learning. We continue to monitor government and local authority guidance in relation to Covid-19 and we are ready and able to flex accordingly to ensure the health and safety of our students and staff.

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with additional restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors, potentially to a full online offer, should further restrictions be deemed necessary in future. Our online activity will be delivered through Blackboard Ultra, enabling collaboration, connection and engagement with materials and people.


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