Researching English Language

Lecturers and College Tutors

The book is organised into the four sections used throughout the Routledge English Language Introductions series.

Section A, the Introduction, sets out the key concepts, providing readers with an overview of the whole process of planning and carrying out a piece of research.

Section B, Development, adds to this basic knowledge and builds on the key ideas already introduced.

Section C, Exploration, encourages readers to think in greater depth about the ideas presented in Sections A and B.

Section D, Extension, offers readers the chance to compare their expertise with key readings in the area. These are taken from the work of important writers, and are provided with guidance and questions.


Section A - Introduction

Section B - Development

Section C - Exploration

Section D


The first stages: getting started and settling on a topic

The how and why of getting started and choosing a research topic

Language research topics

The origins of some research projects in English language (John Sinclair; Susan Fischer; Ronald Carter)


Reading around your topic

The how and why of the literature review: joining a ‘community of practice’

The literature review

Reviewing previous English language literature for research (Emanuel Schegloff, Irene Koshik, Sally Jacoby, and David Olsher; Neal Norrick; Ruqaiya Hasan)


What do you want to know?

The how and why of clarifying research questions

Research questions

Questions in English language research (Smith, S.W., Noda, H.P., Andrews, S. and Jucker; Chris Brumfit)


Ways of finding out what you want to know

The how and why of choosing research methods

Research methods

Methods in English language research (Karmiloff, K., Karmiloff-Smith, A. Barton, D., Hamilton, M.; Cumming, A.)


Possibilities and pitfalls

The how and why of sorting out the details


Problems in English language research (Jennifer Coates; Papaioannou, Santos and Howard 2008 tbc)


Doing the research: collecting data

The how and why of data collection

Data collection

Collecting English language data (Petrić, B., Czárl, B.; Semino, E., Short, M.; Janet Maybin)


Clarifying what you have found out

The how and why of data analysis

Data analysis and interpretation

Analysing English language data (Jennifer Coates, Joanna Thornborrow; Gildersleeve-Neumann, C.E., Kester, E.S., Davis, B.L., Peña, E.D.; Maksoud, R.)


Writing and reporting

The how and why of writing up your project

Writing up your project

Writing about English language research (Mary Lea, Brian Street; Romy Clark, Roz Ivanič)


Beyond the dissertation

The how and why of taking it further

Looking back, looking ahead

Moving on from doing English language research (Smagorinsky, P., Wright, L., Augustine, S.M., O'Donnell-Allen, C., Konopak, B.; Ben Rampton; Curzan, A., Queen, R.)

On this companion website are additional materials, links and examples, grouped into sections corresponding to the nine ‘threads’ used in the book. Click on a topic for further material on any of these threads.