Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2014-2015 (archived)

Module LANG40815: Advanced Research Methods

Department: English Language Centre

LANG40815: Advanced Research Methods

Type Tied Level 4 Credits 15 Availability Available in 2014/15 Module Cap
Tied to Q3K207
Tied to Q3K807


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • at the end of this module, students will:
  • design and implement a study in language teaching
  • 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
  • assess the merits of different language teaching programmes


  • the aim of the module is to develop and extend the understanding, range and application of research methods covered in the first term of the dissertation module
  • this extension will include qualitative approaches such as ethnographic research, a focus on experimental research as well as presentation of key statistical methods in analysis of experimental and other data, enabling interpretation of the statistical reports most frequently identified in language teaching and learning research
  • this extended knowledge of research methods allows for critical evaluation of experimental and interpretive studies in applied language studies research
  • participants will apply lecture theory through design and implementation of their own research study
  • the module will also explore issues in the evaluation of language teaching and learning programmes

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 9 weekly 2 hours 18
Seminars 1 2 hours 2
Tutorials 1 30 mins 0.5
Preparation and Reading 129.50
Total 150

Summative Assessment

Component: Mini Project Component Weighting: 75%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Mini Project 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