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Core: Research Methods in Linguistics


Admission requirements

This course is open to students of Linguistics (research) only.


Linguistics represents a single discipline to the extent that it shares a single object of analysis, but is otherwise quite heterogeneous. Linguists affiliate with fields as divergent as logics, anthropology, biology, mathematics, and archaeology - to name but a few disciplines that are ‘neighbours’ to linguistics. This has given rise to a situation where creative synergies between linguists of various subdisciplines and scholars of other disciplines have led to exciting new collaborations and innovations in methodologies.

The linguistic research carried out at Leiden University reflects a rich variety of subdisciplines, each with their own methodologies - sometimes overlapping, sometimes contrasting. The aim of this course is to present the student with an overview of six subfields of linguistics that Leiden linguists work in and the methodologies they apply.

For 2018-2019 these are: Theoretical Linguistics, Second Language Acquisition, Experimental Linguistics, Historical Linguistics, Language in Society, and Language Use & Discourse Studies. (The methodology of Descriptive Linguistics is discussed in the core course in the second semester, Samples of Linguistic Structures.)

Each of these six subfields will be introduced in a 2-week’s block, by a leading Leiden scholar who discusses a seminal work in their own subfield, paying particular attention to the methodology applied. There will be two 2-hour lectures per week, one on Monday, the other on Friday. In each block, students will do one assignment to apply the methodology discussed. In addition to the readings selected by the lecturers, students study a number of chapters from a textbook.

Course objectives

In this course, students learn:

  • the various research methods employed in Linguistics

  • the variety of linguistic subfields present in Leiden, and the scholars who work in these fields

  • how to recognize the methodology that has been applied in seminal papers

  • how to apply the methodologies through practical research assignments


Linguistics (research)

Mode of instruction


Course Load

Total time: 280 hours

Of which:

  • Classes: 52 h

  • Preparation of classes; reading compulsory literature: 6 blocks x 20 h = 120 h

  • Preparing assignments: 6 assignments x 18 h = 108 h

Assessment method

Six assignments throughout the course (one for each block). All blocks are obligatory.
Out of the 6 blocks, 5 will count towards the average for the final grade. Restriction: all the 5 blocks that count towards the final grade must have grade 5.5 or higher. If the final grade (=average of 5 highest graded blocks) is lower than 5.5, the student can do a resit for a maximum of 1 block.


Blackboard will be used to share literature and to submit assignments.

Reading list

The Textbook for this course is:

Podesva, Robert J. and Devyani Sharma (eds). 2013. Research Methods in Linguistics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available on this website


Prof. dr. M.A.F. (Marian) Klamer, coordinator

Education Administration Office van Wijkplaats

E-mailaddress Education Administration Office van Wijkplaats:

Coordinator of Studies: Else van Dijk