Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2011-2012 (archived)


Department: English Language Centre


Type Tied Level 4 Credits 15 Availability Module Cap
Tied to Q3K207
Tied to Q3K307


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • At the end of the module, students will:
  • design a study in a language teaching/learning context
  • produce a research report following the conventions of the field of applied linguistics
  • critically evaluate the merits of current research in applied linguistics
  • have a full working knowledge of statistical analysis such as chi-square and ANOVA, as well as statistical concepts such as standard deviation
  • design effective assessment instruments
  • assess the merits of different language teaching programmes


  • The aim of this module is to introduce students to the principles underlying research in applied language studies and to explore different types of research methods. Additionally, this course will explore fundamental statistical principles so that students are able to interpret the kinds of statistical reports most frequently found in language teaching research. This knowledge of research methodology allows for critical evaluation of experimental studies in applied language studies, and the student will design and conduct his/her own classroom-based experiment. Additionally, the module will explore issues in assessment and evaluation in language teaching

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Understanding of the principles underlying research design in the field of linguistics
  • Understanding of current quantitative and qualitative research methods appropriate for a language learning environment
  • Full working knowledge of the implications of the most widely used statistics in applied linguistics
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Ability to critically evaluate current research design practices when reading within the field of applied linguistics
  • Mastery of the genre of research report writing as relevant to the field of applied linguistics
  • Ability to design, implement and critically evaluate an empirical study
  • Ability to assess the merits of various approaches to language programme evaluation
Key Skills:
  • Ability to read and understand primary texts in applied linguistics
  • Ability to analyse qualitative and quantitative data
  • Ability to design an experimental research project
  • Ability to implement an experimental research project

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Lectures will introduce the structures implicit in research in applied language studies as well as the knowledge of statistics required to understand this research. They will also introduce key approaches relevant to effective student assessment and language programme evaluation.
  • Tutorials will provide students with the chance to analyse existing data sets and to critically evaluate existing research in applied language studies. They will also provide the support needed for students to design and run a small-scale experimental study

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 20 Weekly in Terms 1 and 2 1 hour 20
Tutorials 5 Terms 1 and 2 1 hour 5
Preparation and Reading 125
Total 150

Summative Assessment

Component: Research Methods Essay Component Weighting: 25%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Research Methods Essay 2,500 words 100%
Component: Research Report Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Research Report 2,500 words 100%
Component: Assessed Research Presentation Component Weighting: 25%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Assessed Research Presentation 15 minutes 100%

Formative Assessment:

Draft Essay and research report.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University