• Target length: 1,800 words
Critical assessment of a research article (chosen by students) on the basis of theory, hypotheses, research questions, and methodology. The article can be on any area of linguistic research, but please see points 2-4 below.
In order to address the assignment questions, you must refer to the material covered in the module and the set reading for the module. For example, in order to assess the article's adherence to scientific method, you would refer to the reading on scientific method (e.g. Litosseliti, 2010). Similarly, in order to assess the article's use of a specific methodology, you would refer (at least) to the set reading on that specific methodology.
1. Please refrain from just describing the article. You need to critically assess its contents! Evaluate how suitable the method(s) is/are to address the research question(s) described in the article. Also, refrain from simply reporting the hypotheses being tested. You need to discuss how /whether the hypothesis follows from theory.
2. The article may only be from peer-reviewed journal publications or book volumes.
3. It needs to be a research article, reporting original research, and NOT a review paper.
4. Ideally, it should be an article that you are likely to build on in your prospective thesis, within your research area, appropriate for your degree course, describing methods that you might use yourself. This is not a hard requirement (you won't be downgraded if you choose an article unrelated to your own project) but it will be supportive for your progress.
Based on the research article you selected, your answer should address ALL the questions below. How well you have answered these questions will form the main part of your mark.
Question 1: scientific method / theoretical considerations
a) What theory (or part of a theory) does the article aim to test?
b) What specific predictions of that theory are being tested? (i.e. what hypotheses following from the theory?)
Question 2: methodology
a) What specific methodology is being used in order to test the prediction(s) / hypothesis?
b) What alternative methodology could have been used? Provide arguments in support of your answer.
Question 3: results and relevance to theory
a) What are the results of the data collection?
b) Do the results support the theory on which the paper is based? How? Make sure that you explain the sequential / logical link between data, hypothesis, and theory (i.e. the empirical cycle) as applied within the article. It could be that these are not clear in the article, in which case say so and demonstrate it by giving examples of the lack of clarity.