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Durham University

Postgraduate Module Handbook 2021/2022

Archive Module Description

This page is for the academic year 2021-22. The current handbook year is 2022-23

Department: Durham Centre for Academic Development

LANG40160: DISSERTATION

Type Tied Level 4 Credits 60 Availability Available in 2021/22
Tied to Q3K207 TESOL

Prerequisites

  • None

Corequisites

  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • LANG40260, LANG42260, LANG42360, LANG42460

Aims

  • At the end of this module students will:
  • engage in an in-depth library based or empirical study of a particular area of language teaching and learning, language analysis or other area of English language research.
  • understand the nature of empirical research and enquiry in language teaching and learning, language analysis or other area of English language research
  • develop an understanding of key theoretical and research-based notions underpinning different approaches to language teaching and learning practice, as well as language analysis and other areas of English language research
  • understand key research methods relevant to empirical study in teaching and learning, language teaching and learning, language analysis or other area of English language research, and develop the capacity to apply these methods
  • demonstrate self-direction and independence in research
  • apply logic and rationality in the research context
  • develop an in-depth critical appreciation of a particular area of language teaching and learning, language analysis or other area of English language research,
  • know and apply academic conventions as required in the field of TESOL and Applied Linguistics (eg citation, formatting, style)

Content

  • the dissertation provides the opportunity to engage in in-depth research in an area of language description, language pedagogy, language acquisition or some area related to studies in TESOL and Applied Linguistics according to the student's interest
  • the research may be empirical or library-based, and the module will incorporate core methodological background to support this research as well as presenting the skills necessary for producing successful dissertation research
  • the dissertation research will build upon concepts covered in one or more of the modules taken on the MA course and will emphasise the importance of theoretical underpinnings and empirical evidence in language teaching and learning

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • in-depth understanding of concepts in current applied linguistics and TESOL research
  • understanding of current approaches to applied language studies from a historical perspective
  • understanding relevant theoretical issues in Applied Linguistics and TESOL research and how they relate to the teaching/learning environment
  • understanding the role of research in supporting pedagogical practice
Subject-specific Skills:
  • mastery of the analytical skills used in current Applied Linguistics and TESOL research
  • ability to analyse language data and other empirical research data
Key Skills:
  • ability to read, understand and critically appraise primary texts
  • ability to synthesise a body of literature to support a coherent argument
  • ability to use appropriate academic conventions in writing
  • ability to design and implement empirical studies

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • the student will be given a personal supervisor and receive individual support for the dissertation writing process. In addition, the Centre will hold research training seminars throughout the year to teach academic conventions such as proper citation and to give guidance in the research and study skills (eg using databases, effective note-taking, etc.) required in carrying out an extended piece of research
  • research methods training is an integral part of this module and students will be given a weekly session throughout one term on these skills
  • the supervisor will ensure that the student is doing the appropriate research and necessary reading to write a dissertation that reflects a command of relevant theoretical background and an ability to apply this knowledge to actual or envisaged teaching practice. The student will demonstrate an ability to research and organise complex material to sustain a logical argument. These arguments will be supported by a clarity of style and purpose that follows the expected conventions of academic writing

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures A 13 Weekly at the end of term 1. 9 lectures weekly in term 2 2 26
Lectures B 8 Weekly term 2 1 8
Lectures C 5 In one week in term 3 2 hours 10
Tutorials 4 In term 3 4-6 hours approx in total 6
Seminars 2 1 each week at end of term 2 2 4
Poster Conference 1 Term 2 2 4
Preparation and Reading 544
Total 600

Summative Assessment

Component: Dissertation Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
dissertation 15,000 words 100%

Formative Assessment:

As part of the research methods training, as part of a 1000-word assignment, students will be required to briefly set out the theoretical underpinnings of their research design. Dependent on the specific dissertation being undertaken, they will also be required as part of this 1000-word assignment to either (a) design a research tool such as a questionnaire, interview protocol or classroom observation scheme and provide an accompanying rationale for their design or (b) set out their precise approach to their dissertation research with rationale or (c) for library dissertations, in order to support a specific research investigation, provide a preliminary literature review. Students will also present a dissertation project proposal or poster which will be reviewed by an MA assessor or tutor and which will also be peer-reviewed. Students are required to submit a final dissertation proposal. Students will also present a dissertation project proposal which will be peer reviewed and reviewed by an MA assessor or tutor.


Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University