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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences : Language Sciences

Postgraduate Course: Sociolinguistic Research Design (LASC11152)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryAn introduction to research design in variationist sociolinguistics.
Course description Sociolinguistics can be defined as the study of language in use. Sociolinguistic research involves describing patterns of language in use and proposing theories to account for those observed patterns, often with recourse to social factors such as the identity of the speaker or the cultural relevance of the speaking context. Descriptive questions include: How do (different) people talk in different contexts, with different addressees, and for different purposes? When do people vary in how they use language, and when do they not vary? Theoretical questions ask why the answers to these questions look the way that they do, attempting to explore why the same sociolinguistic patterns can be seen across different communities and cultures. In short, this course covers research that asks: What motivates speakers to make different linguistic choices? And what communicative and social functions are served by those choices? We focus on answering these questions by bringing particular attention to principles of research design.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Students MUST NOT also be taking Linguistic Research Skills (LASC11144)
Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2019/20, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Lecture Hours 22, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 1, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 75 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 1000 word essay (30%)
2000 word essay (70%)
Feedback Discussion of how to read a linguistics paper, and how to plan a research project.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. understand the rationale for using particular inductive or deductive methods and qualitative, quantitative, or mixed research methods
  2. understand the basics of probability, and gain a critical understanding of the scientific method and of the nature of reflexivity
  3. develop systematic approaches to studying the differences in how we use language
  4. develop a distinctively (socio)linguistic perspective in how we describe and explain what we observe
  5. understand the significance of alternative epistemological positions that provide the context for theory construction, research design, and the selection of appropriate analytical techniques
Reading List
"What is Sociolinguistics?" by Gerard Van Herk
"Introducing Sociolinguistics" by Miriam Meyerhoff
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Principles of research design, basic quantitative methods, basic qualitative methods, (socio)linguistic terminology and concepts
KeywordsResearch Design,Sociolinguistics,Linguistics,Language Variation,Language Change
Course organiserDr Josef Fruehwald
Tel: (0131 6)50 3983
Course secretaryMiss Toni Noble
Tel: (0131 6)51 3188
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