Dr David O'Reilly



In November 2017, I started my appointment as Associate Lecturer in Education (Teaching and Scholarship). I teach on a range of UG and PG modules and specialise in quantitative research into second languages, research methods, language testing and vocabulary acquisition (including metaphor and figurative language). I supervise UG and PG students. For the scholarship aspect of my role, I work on Open Accessible Studies in Language Studies (OASIS), an ESRC and British Academy funded project aimed at making research findings on language learning, language education, and multilingualism more accessible to a wider audience. For OASIS, I publish summaries of journal articles (co-written with the original authors) and lead workshops introducing the resource to language practitioners and students (see External activity).

I was previously connected to the Department of Education as a student and Research Assistant and successfully defended my PhD in December, 2017. My doctoral research focused on metaphoric competence for learners of English as a second language, its relationship to vocabulary knowledge and general language proficiency, and test design in these areas. Publications from this work are currently under review. From 2013-2016 I was Project Administrator for IRIS, a large repository for materials used to collect data for research into second language learning and teaching. Having previously served as Postgraduate Liaison and Development Officer (2014-2018), in June 2018 I was elected as Ordinary Member on the Executive Committee for the Association for Researching and Applying Metaphor (RaAM), an open community of researchers of metaphor, metonymy, and other forms of figurative expression. In this role, I am Lead Coordinator for the RaAM 2019 Early Career Research Paper Prize.


  • 2018-2020: Ordinary Member on the Executive Committee of the Association for Researching and Applying Metaphor (RaAM)
  • 2017-present: Associate Lecturer in Education (Teaching and Scholarship)
  • 2013-2017: PhD student, University of York, An investigation into metaphoric competence in the L2: A linguistic approach
  • 2017: Research Assistant, a meta-analysis of reliability in metaphoric competence and preparatory work for an innovative meta-analysis tool, Principal Investigator: Emma Marsden, funding by a Department Research Priming Grant Awarded (£1094)
  • 2014-2018: Postgraduate Liaison and Development Officer on the Executive Committee of the Association for Researching and Applying Metaphor (RaAM)
  • 2014: Research Assistant: Promoting dialogic teaching to enhance student critical engagement with learning, Principle Investigator: Jan Hardman
  • 2013-2016: Project Administrator: IRIS: The Repository of Instruments for Research into Second Languages, Project Directors: Emma Marsden, Luke Plonsky (Alison Mackey, former)
  • 2012-2013: Masters in Applied Linguistics for English Language Teaching, University of York
  • 2008-2012: English Language Instructor, Berlitz Centre for Foreign Languages, Belgrade, Serbia
  • 2003-2006: Bachelors in English Language and Literature, University of Manchester

University roles

  • Derwent SCR member



Academic publications

O’Reilly, D. (2019). [Review of the book Metaphor: A computational perspective, by T. Veale, E. Shutova, and B. Beigman-Klebanov]. Metaphor and the Social World, 9(1), 131-138. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1075/msw.18033.ore

I have several empirical articles currently under revision/review.

Scholarship: Practitioner, student, and researcher audiences

OASIS summaries and training workshops

I have published OASIS summaries of journal articles (co-written with the original authors) in the areas of second language error correction/repair, formulaic language learning, language testing, and metaphor/figurative language learning. My published summaries are available on the OASIS project website.

I also hold training workshops on introducing and using OASIS in language teaching and learning (see External activity).

Metaphor research community

Research group(s)


I supervise both undergraduate and postgraduate students in the department.



I teach / have taught on the following undergraduate modules:

  • Educational Research Methods


I teach / have taught on the following postgraduate modules:

  • Evaluating TESOL Practice
  • Language Curriculum Design and Evaluation
  • Language for Education
  • Planning and Communicating Research
  • Pragmatics: Language, Meaning and Communication
  • Quantitative and Qualitative Data Analysis
  • Research Methods in Language Learning and Teaching
  • TESOL Methods
  • Testing and Assessment in English Language Teaching

External activities


Editorial duties

Invited talks and conferences

O’Reilly, D. (2019, July). Investigating vocabulary ‘size’ and ‘depth’ as predictors of L2 metaphoric competence: A new application of an old question. Poster presented at Vocab@Leuven International Conference, KU Leuven, Belgium.

O’Reilly, D. (2019, July). Introducing and using Open Accessible Summaries in Language Studies (OASIS) in Higher Education. Invited workshops for pre-sessional MA TESOL students, International Pathway College, University of York.

O’Reilly, D. (2019, June). Introducing and using Open Accessible Summaries in Language Studies (OASIS) in Higher Education. Invited workshop for visiting Chinese University of Hong Kong students, Centre for Global Programmes, University of York.

O’Reilly, D. (2019, April). Introducing and using OASIS in teaching: Summer schools and short courses. Invited workshop for Language Instructors, Centre for Global Programmes, University of York.

O’Reilly, D. (2019, March). ‘Good’ extensions of re-literalised idioms: Evaluating and comparing the creative productions of L2 and L1 language users. Poster presented at The Creative Power of Metaphor (Creative Multilingualism panel and poster event), University of Oxford, UK. A 90-second video summary of my research is to appear on the Creative Multilingualism Project website.

O'Reilly, D. (2018, November). 'Better' approaches to instrument and interrater reliability analysis using R. Research Methodology Brownbag Series, University of York, UK.

O'Reilly, D. (2018, August). What are the relationships between second language (L2) metaphoric competence, vocabulary knowledge and general proficiency? Invited talk for Jiangsu University students. Centre for Global Programmes, University of York, UK

O’Reilly, D. (2018, June). Multiple-choice in L2 metaphoric competence testing. Paper presented at the 12th RaAM Conference on Metaphor across Contexts and Domains: From Description to Application, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong. Shortlisted for Best PhD Presentation Award.

O’Reilly, D. and Marsden, E. (2017, October). The 'slippery' construct of L2 metaphoric competence. Paper presented at the Second Language Research Forum (SLRF) 2017, Growing Connections in Second Language Research, Ohio State University, USA.

O'Reilly, D. (2017, July). Metaphor, metaphoric competence and foreign language learning: Education/social science session for widening participation summer residential students. Invited talk for Student Recruitment and Admissions. University of York, UK.

O’Reilly, D. (2017, May). Is ‘getting stuck between a rock and a hard place’ really easier than ‘falling head over heels’? The curious case of extended-bodily-idioms for learners of English. Paper presented at the 6th RaAM Specialised Seminar on Ecological Cognition and Metaphor, University of Southern Denmark, Denmark.

O’Reilly, D. (2016, March). L2 metaphoric competence: Moving from classroom task to assessment tool. Poster presented at BAAL TEA SIG: Assessment for learning and assessment of learning: Incommensurate paradigms or complementary perspectives? University of Reading, UK.

O’Reilly, D. (2016, January). Identifying and analysing formulaic sequences in L2 production. Paper presented at the FLaRN 2016 Workshop, Swansea University, UK.


Contact details

Department of Education
University of York
YO10 5DD

Tel: +44 (0)1904 323490