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Eng505 Research in linguistics/literature. Dr. Ayaz Afsar. The Nature of Research. Dr Ayaz Afsar. Objectives. What is Research? What constitutes a research question? What research methods and strategies are available?. The Nature of Research. Personal Research

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Eng505 research in linguistics literature

Eng505Research in linguistics/literature

Dr. Ayaz Afsar


  • What is Research?

  • What constitutes a research question?

  • What research methods and strategies are available?

The nature of research1
The Nature of Research

  • Personal Research

    • Definition fr. rechercher: means “finding out” something, to investigate something thoroughly, to search for information

    • Example, buying a car

  • Professional research

    • Objective

    • Carefully done

    • Conducted using methods that can be repeated

Buying a car
Buying a car

  • Before buying:

  • Which is the “best buy” for the money you can afford

    • Reading the motoring journals or magazines

    • Going round the car dealers

    • Checking out incentives

      However the info. won’t tell you which car to buy

      But put you in a position to make an informed judgement—decide by taking into account evidence

Other examples
Other Examples

  • What to cook as a meal when we have guests?

  • What movie to watch?

  • What bank to use?

    Which means...

    What info is needed

    How it can be collected

    What factors are relevant

    How the info can be used

Personal research
Personal Research

  • You don’t need to tell other people

  • Wouldn’t matter much to other people if we make:

    • mistakes

    • Collect inappropriate or unreliable info

    • Make poor judgements on the basis of the evidence

Activity 1
Activity 1

  • Identify three decisions you have made in the last two weeks which required getting prior information.

  • Write out the “research questions” you asked yourself and then, in each case, list the factors you look into account, the information you thought was necessary, how you went about collecting it and how you weighed up the evidence in reaching the decision.

Professional research
Professional Research

  • Although ProR has much in common with the Personal Research it is carried out in a broader and more public context and so is expected to conform to standards which are understood and recognized by others in the professional field.

    • Characterised by being rigorous and systematic

    • Pursued by employing appropriate research methods

    • Culminates in a report of some kind

    • Needs to conform the accepted standards

Defining research
Defining Research

Research is a systematic enquiry which is reported in a form which allows the research methods and the outcomes to be accessible to others.

Research questions
Research Questions

  • Research is concerned with seeking solutions to problems or answers to questions.

    • Problem or question constitutes the research topic

    • Identifying a topic which is worthy of enquiry and then formulating a meaningful research question(s) are the most difficult parts of the research

    • “An answer is only as good as the question”

    • A poorly constructed or vague question can only result in a poor or useless answer


  • Usually begin with:

    • What is ...?

    • To what extent ...?

    • Does the ...?

  • Meaningful and non-meaningful questions

    • A MRQ is one which is expressed in such a way that it indicates what it is that you will accept as an answer: “How high is the Minarets of Faisal Mosque Islamabad?”

Eng505 research in linguistics literature

  • Height is a measurable variable—the Q implies that the answer would be a quantification or measure—in feet or metres or any unit of measurement

    “To what extent is the frequency of library visits by the MA English students related to their performance in the examinations?”

  • A number of factors need to be taken into account in a question like this—the expected answer would be a statistical factor

    “What factors led to the separation of East and West Pakistan?”


Social factors :

  • Population growth

  • Increase in industrialisation

  • Urbanization

  • Rise in social unrest

    Economic factors

  • Increase in governmental responsibility

  • Increase in urban poverty

    Geographical factors

    Linguistic factors

Activity 2
Activity 2

  • Write out three meaningful questions, one which involves a measure, one which involves relationship between two factors and one which involves possible causes of an event.

  • Ask two of your fellow students to read the questions and tell you what kinds of answers they would expect.

  • Did what they say agree with what you intended?

Non meaningful questions
Non-meaningful Questions

  • NMRQs in research terms are those which are not answerable as a result of enquiry alone. These include metaphysical qs.

    • e.g. “Is there life after death?”

      Or Judgemental Qs:

      “Was DNA a more important discovery than penicillin?”

Limitations of research
Limitations of Research

  • Feasibility and practicability

  • Thoroughness of method and reliability of outcomes

  • Research is concerned with “what is” and sometimes “what might be” –it cannot determine “what ought to be”

  • Description and explanation

  • Not the expression of personal beliefs, opinions and views


  • It is acceptable to put forward recommendations for future practice on the basis of the evidence presented and conclusions reached, but such recommendations or speculations are, in themselves, not part of the reesearch.

Drawing up your proposal
Drawing up your proposal

  • Abstract

  • Introduction

  • Research question

  • Gaps in the current knowledge

  • Boundaries

  • Theoretical perspectives/literature survey

  • Conceptual framework

  • Methodologies and methods

Eng505 research in linguistics literature

  • Research design – design of study

    -Decide on methods and vehicles

    -Decide on timeline

    -Decide on population/primary sources

    -Decide on data collection and analysis

  • Ethical considerations

  • Outline plan of study

  • Justification for the level of the award

  • Bibliography – primary references