Dissertation - LING5990

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2024 to 2025
Combined Autumn and Spring Terms 6 30 (15) Laura Bailey checkmark-circle


This module enables students to research in depth a linguistic topic. The dissertation topic may be chosen from a list provided by the supervisor, or selected by the student under guidance from the supervisor in an area reflecting the student's interests and the supervisor's research programme, interests and expertise. The topic will normally build upon a module that the student has undertaken in their second year. In the rare case that the chosen topic builds upon an Autumn-term module in the student's third year, acceptance is at the supervisor's discretion; it is expected that the supervisor will be the convenor of that module and can reach a decision on the basis of their assessment of the student's potential and the viability of the project.

Topics available for study are subject to the availability of an appropriate supervisor. In order to ensure adequate supervision, supervisors may not accept to supervise more than three dissertations in a given year.

With guidance from their supervisors, students will identify a research question and apply appropriate methodologies to data collection and their analysis. While the supervisor will be there to guide students, students will take responsibility for setting their own deadlines, working at a pace that suits them.

The module will aim to equip students with the necessary training in a broad range of research skills typically required for dissertations in linguistics.


Contact hours

Total Contact Hours: 20
Private Study Hours: 280
Total Study Hours: 300

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods

• Dissertation (10,000 words) – 100%

Reassessment methods
• Reassessment Instrument: 100% Project

Indicative reading

Indicative Reading List

Harris, P. (2008) (3rd) Designing and Reporting Experiments. London: Open University Press.
Litosseliti, L. (2009) Research Methods in Linguistics. London: Continuum.
Mackey, A and Gass, S. (2011) Research Methods in Second Language Acquisition: A Practical Guide. London: Wiley-Blackwell.
McMillan, K. & J. Weyers. (2007) How to Write Dissertations and Project Reports. London: Prentice Hall.
Oliver, P. (2010) The Student's Guide to Research Ethics. London: Open University Press.
Podesva, R. and Sharma, D. (eds.) (2014) Research Methods in Linguistics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Sealey, A. (2010) Researching English Language: A Resource Book for Students. London: Routledge.
Wray, A. & A. Bloomer (2012) (3rd edn.) Projects in Linguistics and Language Studies: A Practical Guide to Researching Language. London: Hodder Arnold.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1. Demonstrate a coherent and detailed knowledge of the existing research on a particular linguistic topic;
2. Carry out original research on a particular linguistic topic;
3. Demonstrate practical experience of appropriate linguistic research methods and techniques;
4. Collect and critically evaluate linguistic data;
5. Present linguistic data in an appropriate manner (tables, graphs, diagrams etc.).

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1. Identify an appropriate research question;
2. Design and manage a project to completion;
3. Solve problems independently;
4. Demonstrate confidence in tackling unfamiliar problems;
5. Write and edit an extended piece of work;
6. Communicate complex ideas in writing;
7. Support their own arguments by making use of existing research and critically evaluated evidence;
8 Identify appropriate scholarly sources to draw upon.


  1. Credit level 6. Higher level module usually taken in Stage 3 of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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