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Unit information: Research Methods in Language Education in 2021/22

Unit name Research Methods in Language Education
Unit code EDUCM0092
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Academic Year (weeks 1 - 52)
Unit director Dr. Matt Kedzierski
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Education
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description including Unit Aims

This core unit provides an introduction to the variety of methods used to conduct research in foreign language education, with a particular focus on English as a foreign or additional language. It engages students in the key debates surrounding educational research conducted in different contexts, and the role of research practices in improving professional and academic skills. The unit is an integral part of the MSc TESOL curriculum and draws on the research practices and constructions of knowledge discussed in the other units on the programme. In this course, students are introduced to the entire process of conducting educational research from the initial stages of thinking about research questions to designing a project, choosing particular methodologies and methods. Students are encouraged to look at this from a political and philosophical as well as educational perspective and also to consider and reflect on the key issues that educational researchers face, including how it is possible to ensure good ethical practice.

The unit aims are to:

  • present the main philosophical and methodological positions within social science research with special reference to research in foreign language education and applied linguistics;
  • appreciate the importance of critically engaging with research literature;
  • understand and engage with the process of research design and its conduct, including issues in data collection and analysis;
  • prepare students for designing and implementing a research study for the Masters dissertation;
  • enrich their reading and understanding of research literature that they engage with in their other units on the programme.

Intended Learning Outcomes

On completion of the unit students will be able to:

  1. Recognise the diversity of research questions and related methods which are used in researching foreign language education and applied linguistics;
  2. Read critically and evaluate research-related documents, which have employed a range of research approaches and methods based on differing epistemologies;
  3. Identifying research opportunities in their own professional context;
  4. Formulate a research question and an appropriate research design for a small-scale project;
  5. Critically engage with issues of ethics, validity, trustworthiness and reliability in relation to research;
  6. Collect, analyse, and report on research data and findings;
  7. Reflect critically on the role of professional context and culture in doing research

Teaching Information

This unit will be taught using a blended approach consisting of a mixture of synchronous and asynchronous activities including seminars, lectures, reading and discussions.

Assessment Information

Formative assessment

Instructor feedback (oral and written) on students' work will be provided through tutorials and informally through classroom discussions and presentations. Self-reflection and peer-to-peer collaboration is also used to encourage engagement with theory and practice.

Summative Assessment

A 4000-word written assignment to assess students' critical understanding of the research methods literature, and apply concepts and theories to their own research practice (ILO 1,2,3,4,5,6,7)


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. EDUCM0092).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.