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Research Methods in Language Education 1: Researching Questions - EDU00119M

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  • Department: Education
  • Module co-ordinator: Prof. Jan Hardman
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2024-25

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 1 2024-25

Module aims

  • To prepare students to consider the contexts for research in Language Education;
  • To develop knowledge and understanding of the essentials of research in the field of Language Education, including formulating research questions, literature searching and reviewing, and quantitative and qualitative research design;
  • To familiarise students with a range of research methods and quantitative and qualitative analysis techniques to conduct independent research on language educational topics.
  • To familiarise students with how to read research literature and reports in the field of Language Education with critical analysis, understanding, and insight to assess the strengths and weaknesses of such research.

Module learning outcomes

Subject content
By the end of this module, students will be able to:

  • Develop a good knowledge and understanding of educational research processes, including research questions, designs, methods, and quantitative and qualitative analysis techniques;
  • Be familiar with commonly-used instruments in educational research, including questionnaires, interview schedules, observation schedules, and experimental designs;
  • Be able to evaluate the appropriateness of methods and analytical techniques for different research topics and questions;
  • Critically describe the strengths and limitations of different data collection methods and analysis Techniques;
  • Develop a clear understanding of the characteristics of scientifically rigorous educational research.

Academic and graduate skills

At the end of the module, students will have learned how to be able to:

  • Critically evaluate academic arguments as presented in the research literature and reports using a range of methods and techniques;
  • Manage a range of sources and critically assess the reliability and validity in informing and supporting academic argumentation.

Module content

Module outline
The module consists of eleven lectures and seminars. Teaching and learning
activities will include presentations by the tutor, small group discussions and practical
activities (individual and group).

Week 1 Introduction to the module and learning community

Week 2 Introduction to `research’, key concepts and paradigms

Week 3 Research processes: from research questions to research designs

Week 4 How do we research behaviour? Observational studies

Week 5 How do we research opinions and experiences? Interviews

Week 6 How do we research attitudes and perceptions? Questionnaire design

Week 7 Language learning-specific methods of data collection

Week 8 Experimental designs

Week 9 What makes research rigorous?

Week 10 How do we critically read research articles?

Week 11 Feedback on the mock exam
Preparing for the summative exam


Task Length % of module mark
Online Exam -less than 24hrs (Centrally scheduled)
Open exam EDU00119M: Specific Timeframe Online Examination of 3 hours (time from release to deadline)
3 hours 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Online Exam -less than 24hrs (Centrally scheduled)
Open exam EDU00119M: Specific Timeframe Online Examination of 3 hours (time from release to deadline)
3 hours 100

Module feedback

Feedback on the mock exam is provided in Week 11 to help prepare for the summative exam.

Indicative reading

Bryman, A. (2015). Social research methods. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 5th Edition
Cohen, L., Manion, L., & Morisson, K. (2007). Research methods in Education. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge. [Available as an e-book]
Cottrell, S. (2017). Critical thinking skills. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
De Brun, C. (2013). Searching skills toolkit: Finding the evidence. Oxford: BMJ Books.
Dörnyei, Z. (2007). Research methods in applied linguistics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Wray, A. (2012). Projects in linguistics: A practical guide to researching language. London: Hodder Arnold. [Available as an e-book]

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.