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If you choose to write your thesis in English Applied Linguistics, please follow the basic principles outlined below.
A thesis is intended to be a serious academic challenge in the form of an analytical piece of writing (research) as opposed to a purely summative/descriptive one. Research involves planned and systematic investigation of a particular phenomenon, in other words research seeks to describe, identify, and control relationships among phenomena in order to study them.
In your thesis you need to:
note: An analysis is essential for a successful thesis. If, for example, your work involves practical materials design, the actual materials/activities should form the appendix of your work, while the main body should contain the rationale for designing the materials the way you did, including the description of the scientific basis and supporting evidence. Your conclusion does not necessarily have to provide solutions to problems, but you are expected to demonstrate in it a deeper understanding of the selected issue.
In preparing your thesis you will be aided by a consultant. For the procedures to select him/her and for a description of the ways he/she can help you, see below. Please note, however, that your consultant is not responsible for doing any part of the work for you; instead, he/she will make sure that the thesis is your original product.
The thesis will be read by your consultant and an independent reader, who will grade it according to the criteria described below.
To get you started on your thesis in a timely fashion, five steps need to be carried out before 1st October (if you want to submit your thesis in March) or before 1st May (if you want to submit your thesis in October):
note: It is advisable to see the Head of Department well before the official submission date so that you have enough time to rewrite the proposal if necessary. Also, in accordance with our Department's rules, consultants cannot accept more than five students' proposals. If you do not submit your proposal early enough, you may not be able to work with the consultant you would like to.
Students are given the academic freedom of selecting their consultant. However, if you are not sure who you would like to work with, or if you have any problems, the Department Head will assist you in finding a consultant according to your thesis topic. For information on the suggested topics and the Applied Linguistics staff members' field of expertise see the biographical data of the staff of the Department in the old Academic Guide (Owl Book) or the SEAS Study Guide. Written appeals for changing the consultant will be considered.
Consultants can offer the following support:
The consultant will not be expected to edit language, punctuation and spelling. The dissertation is supposed to demonstrate your academic abilities; therefore the quality of your thesis is exclusively your responsibility.\par
Two copies (one bound in black) of the final draft are to be submitted to the Student Service (Diáktanácsadó) not later than 30th March, or 30th October. The Head of Department will appoint the readers for all dissertations submitted in time. Readers and consultants will each receive a copy for marking.
Markers are required to assign a mark and submit a report of justification. The final mark of your thesis will be decided on at a formal Thesis Markers' Meeting chaired by the Head of the Applied Linguistics Department. The date of this meeting will be posted each term. Conflicting marks will be negotiated and reconciled. If necessary, a third reader will be appointed by the Head. You will be informed about the final mark and receive a copy of the reviews in the Department Office (ADS 330) after the meeting.
The readers' reports are normally 1--2 typed pages and include a detailed evaluation of the main aspects of the thesis following the marking criteria outlined in Section III. The mark approved by the Department is not subject to appeal.
Format (5 points)
Language (5 points)
Review of the literature (5 points)
Analysis (10 points)
Thesis papers may be of two types: theoretical or empirical. A theoretical paper usually focuses on an ambiguous problem. In this case, the main aim of the thesis is to show various treatments of the particular problem in the field and provide a synthesis of literature and original solution of the problem. The paper starts with the comparison of what different authors say about the same topic, that is, a survey of the relevant literature arranged into some logical framework invented by the writer. The overview should be critical, and should be followed by an argumentative proposal of the writer's own opinion and solution of the problem.
Writing an empirical thesis paper in applied linguistics and language pedagogy is more common than theoretical papers. A research paper should also investigate a problem and is argumentative in nature, but unlike in the theoretical paper, the writer uses empirical data to support his/her hypotheses. Empirical research has two types: qualitative and quantitative. Qualitative research studies an individual case or a limited number of cases closely with the purpose of understanding the particular phenomenon/phenomena from the perspective of the participants. Quantitative studies usually take an outsider's perspective and involve a sufficient number of participants so that the findings could be generalizable for the behaviour of the population investigated.
The topic of empirical thesis papers in this field can be the following:
An empirical thesis paper can apply various research tools, preferably a combination of the following:
Theoretical thesis papers usually follow an argumentative pattern and are organised around the solution of a problem. Questions that are normally addressed in such papers include:
Depending on the nature of the problem, such papers may be structured in different ways. A typical pattern of organisation is presented below:
(based on Swales, J.M., & Feak, C.B. (1994). Academic Writing for Graduate Students. Ann Arbour: The University of Michigan Press.)
A literature review should be a very thorough and well-structured overview, presented on the basis of an original organising principle. That is, the writer has to make a unique presentation of the existing literature on the topic. This means, for instance, that simply presenting a summary on what Dörnyei said about learner motivation, and then elaborating what Gardner said about the same topic, does not qualify for a proper review of the literature. A good overview is relevant, looks at all the aspects of the given topic, uses a minimum of 15 serious sources, and presents the topic in a new light. As regards materials downloaded from the Internet, only sources that have an author and can be traced even after the submission of the thesis can be accepted.
A good method section describes the procedures in such a detailed way that anyone wishing to replicate the study would be able to do so. All the data collection materials (e.g., questionnaires, interview protocols, tasks, observation sheets) need to be exemplified in the appendix. The method section should also describe the procedures used for the quantitative or qualitative analysis of the data.
The text of your thesis must be type-written double spaced on one side only of A4 paper. The left-hand margin should be 1.5 inches wide and the other three margins 1 inch wide. The body of the thesis (without the notes, references and appendices) should be at least 40 pages long and should normally not exceed 55--60 pages. Your thesis should follow the APA format.
The APA format documents a paper's sources by both citing them in the text and describing them bibliographically in the paper's References list.
|There are those who believe that second language acquisition research is still at such a preliminary stage that it is premature to base any proposals for language teaching upon it yet. There are others, among whom I count myself, who believe that it is the task of the applied linguist to make practical use of whatever knowledge is available at the time. We cannot constantly be waiting to see what is round the corner. We must be prepared to stick our necks out. (Corder, 1984, p. 58)|
Beginner researchers typically overuse direct quotations. Only use direct quotation if
In all other cases summarise the author's ideas in your own words and indicate your source very clearly by including the author's name and the publication date in parentheses.
Plagiarism is using another person's language or ideas without acknowledgement. This also applies to unpublished materials (e.g., student theses, lectures, lecture handouts, internet pages). If you want to quote from such materials, document the source explicitly. Intentional or not, all plagiarism is theft; therefore, it will result in the immediate rejection of your thesis.
References should be placed at the end of the paper, in the References section, listing each source cited in the text alphabetically by the author's name (or by a work's title when no author is given). For details, see the examples below. All the works or authors listed in the Reference section must be referred to in the text.
|Book/single author||Ellis, R. (1985). Understanding second language acquisition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.|
|Book/single author/2nd edition||Popham, J. W. (1990). Modern educational measurement (2nd ed.). Needham Heights, MA: Allyn and Bacon.|
|Book/joint authors||O'Malley, J. M., & Chamot, A. U. (1990). Learning strategies in second language acquisition. New York: Cambridge University Press.|
|Edited book||Phillipson, R., Kellerman, E., Selinker, L., Sharwood Smith, M., & Swain, M. (Eds.). (1991). Foreign/second language pedagogy research: A commemorative volume for Claus Færch. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.|
|Journal article/single author||Medgyes, P. (1993). The national L2 curriculum in Hungary. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 13, 24--36.|
|Journal article/joint authors||Canale, M., & Swain, M. (1980). Theoretical bases of communicative approaches to second language teaching and testing. Applied Linguistics, 1, 1--47.|
|Journal article/multiple authors||Sacks, H., Schegloff, E., & Jefferson, G. (1974). A simplest systematics for the organization of turn-taking for conversation. Language, 50, 696--735.|
|Magazine article (each issue starts with page 1)||Rinvolucri, M. (1988, June). A light on the wall. Practical English Teaching, pp. 15--16.|
|Chapter/article in an edited book||Johnson, D. W., & Johnson, R. T. (1991). Cooperative learning and classroom and school climate. In: B. J. Fraser, & H. J. Walberg (Eds.), Educational environments (pp. 55--74). Oxford: Pergamon.|
|Paper presented at a conference||Nádadsy, Á. (1993, April). The right accent: Pronunciation and tradition in TESOL. Paper presented at the 27th Annual TESOL Convention, Atlanta, GA.|
|Unpublished doctoral dissertation||Duff, P. A. (1993). Changing times, changing minds: Language socialization in Hungarian-English Schools. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of California, Los Angeles.|
|Unpublished thesis||Kossuth, L. (1995). Freedom in the buffet: An analysis of student interaction and eating habits. Unpublished thesis, Eötvös University, Budapest.|
|Government document||U.S. Bureau of the Census. (1989). Statistical abstract of the United States (109th ed.). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.|
|Encyclopedia and dictionary||Baker, M. (Ed.). (1998). Routledge Encyclopedia of Translation Studies (1st ed.). London and New York. Routledge. (For major reference works with a large editorial board, you may list the name of the lead editor, followed by ``et al.'')|
|Entry in an encyclopedia||Bergmann, P. G. (1993). Relativity. In The new enynclopedia Britannica (Vol. 26, pp. 501--508). Chicago: Encyclopedia Britannica.|
|Translation||Miller, A. (1990). The untouched key: Tracing childhood trauma in creativity and destructiveness (H. & H. Hannum, Trans.). New York: Doubleday. (Original work published in 1988).|
|Material from an information service or a database||Horn, P. (1989). The Victorian Governess. History of Education, 18, 333--344. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. EJ 401 533).|
With multiple works by the same author, arrange the items in the order of their publication. If the year of publication happens to be the same, use small letters (a, b, c, ...) to distinguish between the works. If the References contain a work written by a particular author and another work co-authored by the same author, the single-author's work should come first regardless of the publication dates.
APA-style of documenting WWW (World Wide Web) resources
Reference to on-line information
Author/editor, I. (date). Title of the article. [On-line]. Available: Specify path
Example: Pritzker, T. J. (1995). An Early fragment from central Nepal [Online]. Available: http://www.ingress.com/~astanart/pritzker/pritzker.html
Author/editor, I., & Author/editor, I. (date). Title of chapter. In Title of full work [On-line]. Available: Specify path Example: Daniel, R. T. (1995). The history of Western music. In Britannica online: Macropaedia [Online]. bin/g:DocF=macro/5004/45/0.html
Author, I. (date). Title of the article. Name of the periodical [On-line serial] Volume Number. Available: Specify path Example: Funder, D.C. (1994). Judgemental process and content. Psychology [online serial], 5. Avalaible: http://www.cup.com/~psychology.html
Reference to information on CD-ROM
Author, I. (date). Title of the article [CD-ROM]. Title of the journal, Volume number, page numbers, Abstract from: Source and retrieval number
Example: Meyer, S. S., & Bock, K. (1992). The tip of the tongue phenomenon [CD-ROM]. Memory & Cognition, 20, 715--726. Abstract from: Silver Platter File: PsychLit Item: 80--16531
Reference to computer program
Author, I. (date). Name of the program [Computer software]. Place of publication: Publisher.
Example: Miller, M. E. (1993). The interactive tester [Computer software]. Westminster, CA: Psytek Services.