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Language Acquisition 5: Writing a Research Report on Language


Admission requirements

Pass marks for Language Acquisition 1 and 3.


This course teaches you to write a research report on applied linguistics. The report could serve as inspiration or even a starting-point for your BA thesis. At the beginning of the course you choose an area of applied linguistics. In the first half of the course you are given an introduction to that research area and you team up with three of your fellow students to choose a specific topic and formulate a research problem. These form the basis of the research report that you write together in the second half of the course under the supervision of your tutor. The subject areas that will almost certainly be offered in the academic year 2015-2016 are: Persuasion Studies (Tony Foster), Sociolinguistics (Dick Smakman) and Second Language Teaching: Pronunciation (Dick Smakman).
The lectures in the first half of the course will deal with the writing process itself. We will cover such topics as formulating research questions, research variables, theoretical embedding, visual presentation of data in graphs and tables, and of course the various parts of an empirical research report (Introduction, Methodology, Results, Conclusion, Discussion). The tutorials provide you with an introduction to the subject area that you have chosen. There are weekly homework assignments in which you bring the theory that you have read into practice.
In the second half of the course you cooperate with your fellow students and tutor to collect and organise language-use data from sources such as magazines, newspapers, Computer Mediated Communication (texting, Facebook, etc.), literature, television, radio, Youtube, books of poetry, and, for instance, advertising brochures. Another potential source is the language used in the public space, for instance the language of signs, of civil servants, of people waiting for the bus, or the language used in shops. Finally, the language produced in a language teaching situation is another focus of the course, and therefore classrooms are another place to collect data.
In the second half of the course, you use these data to write the research report. With your tutor acting as an experienced expert and your fellow students as critical peers, you will meet each week to discuss your progress with your writing. In the final week of the course you hand in your research report, which is then commented upon and marked by your tutor.

Course objectives

  • Learning to collect and process language-use data.

  • Improve your academic writing skills.

  • Writing an academic research report.

  • Preparation for BA thesis.


Time and date on which the course is offered or a link to the website.

Mode of instruction

  • One 45-minute lecture until Reading Week.

  • One weekly 45-minute tutorial.

Course Load

The total course load is 140 hours (5 EC), allocated as follows:

  • Lecture and tutorial attendance: 20 hours.

  • Tutorial preparation: 30 hours.

  • Collecting and processing data: 40 hours.

  • Writing the research report: 50 hours.

Assessment method

Research report (100%). You will be awarded an individual mark for that part of the report that you have written on your own (60%), as well as a group mark (40%). Neither of these marks may be lower than 6.0 for a pass mark for the course. Please note that you are only allowed to start work on the research report if you have attended the tutorials in the first half of the course and if you have submitted all homework assignments in “Assignment” on Blackboard.
If the final mark for the essay is 5 or less, you can rewrite the failed component or components.


In this course, Blackboard is used to present course information, notify you of changes to the course and to make course materials available.

Reading list

Course materials will be available from Blackboard.


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Contact information


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