MA seminar I: Research methods in linguistics

Winter term 2016/2017
30 contact hours (1 class a week)
ECTS credits: 4
Lecturer: Nicole Nau

How to work on your Master thesis in the first semester:

  • Find a topic and formulate research questions and possible theses.
  • Determine fields of necessary background knowledge.
  • Search for research literature, write a first bibliography.
  • Reflect methods you could employ in the empirical part.

For zaliczenie: show that you have done all this by (a) reporting orally in class, (b) handing in about half a page describing your project and (c) the bibliography (minimum 5 titles).

students’ page: texts and tasks

Module aims:
The aim of this first semester of the MA seminar is to broaden the students’ knowledge of research design and research methods in various fields of empirical linguistics and to enable them to choose the appropriate methodology in their own research. They will also find the topic for their MA thesis, on which they will start working in the second semester of the first year of the program.

Learning content:

  • Finding and formulating research questions
  • Essential characteristics of scientific studies and good practices in linguistic research
  • Methods of data collection
  • Quantitative and qualitative research
  • Questionnaires and interviews
  • Experimental studies
  • Analysing text and talk

Assessment criteria:
20% students’ activity in class
80% two presentations with written summaries

Examples for assessment tasks:
Task 1: Summarize the main point of parts of a chapter in Podesva & Sharma, eds., 2014.
Task 2: Present and critically evaluate the methodology of an existing study in any field of empirical linguistics.
Task 3: Present the design of a possible future study.

30 contact hours
40 hours reading
40 hours preparing presentations

Reading list

  • Holmes, Janet & Hazen, Kirk, eds. 2013. Research methods in sociolinguistics: A practical guide. Malden: Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Hult, Francis M. & Johnson, David Cassels, eds. 2015. Research methods in language policy and planning: practical guide. Malden: Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Litosseliti, Lia, ed. 2010. Research methods in linguistics. London: Bloosmbury.
  • Podesva, Robert J. & Sharma, Devyaniels. 2014. Research methods in linguistics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Russ, Gordon & Petre, Marian. 2007. A gentle guide to research methods. Berkshire: Open University Press.
  • Wälchli, Bernhard & Leemann, Adrian & Ender, Andrea. 2012. Methods in contemporary linguistics. Berlin: de Gruyter.
  • Wei, Li & Moyer, Melissa G., eds. 2008. The Blackwell guide to research methods in bilingualism and multilingualism. Malden: Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Eisenbeiss, Sonja: Experimental Linguistics in the Field, site at: