ENG4225 - The Nature of Linguistic Research

Year of Study:4
Credit Units: 3
Duration: 45hours
Prerequisites: ENG1200 Introduction to Linguistics,
ENG1205 English Lexical Studies,
ENG2200 The Grammar and Structure of English,
ENG2205 The Sound Systems of English,
and at least one 3000-level linguistics elective module,
or with special permission from Instructor and approval by Department Head
Module Description
What makes linguistics a distinct and valuable area of research? What are the sorts of questions that linguistics is able to address, and what are the techniques and methods it uses to go about addressing them? What are the important theories, research programs and schools of thought within linguistics? These are the sorts of questions that will be addressed within this module. Rather than focusing on specific areas of linguistics like syntax or phonology, this module is focused on linguists itself, as an enterprise and a discipline of research. We will discuss different opinions within the field about the direction linguistics should take, and the issues that it should emphasise. We will also discuss important competing theories and models and their related controversies from across the field. An important aspect of this module is developing an understanding of how theory drives research and the relationships between description, theory and methodology. As part of this process, this module includes reading, discussion and critical evaluations of scholarly articles and essays from a range of areas within linguistics. To put these concepts and knowledge into practice, students will design their own linguistic research proposal.
Learning Outcomes
Upon completion of this module, students should be able to:

  1. Read, understand and evaluate published research in linguistics and language related fields of research.

  2. Describe and write about linguistic theories and hypotheses and their relationships to empirical data.

  3. Conduct a literature review on a self-chosen linguistics research question.

  4. Design an original linguistics research proposal, including a clear research question and hypothesis, an appropriate methodology and a discussion of the relevance for the expected results.

  5. Use e-learning platforms, such as the Moodle-based eCampus system, to participate in on-line guided class discussions, together with internet-based electronic tools for academic research.