LOT Winter School 2019

RM1 - Methods in data collection for sociolinguistics: Focus on elicitation

Marina Terkourafi


Title of the course: Methods in data collection for sociolinguistics: Focus on elicitation

Teacher: Marina Terkourafi

Address: Leiden University Centre for Linguistics, van Wijkplaats 4, Leiden 2311BX

Email address: m.terkourafi@hum.leidenuniv.nl

website teacher: https://www.universiteitleiden.nl/en/staffmembers/...

Course info
Level: RM1 (First year Research Master Linguistics)

Course description:

This course will discuss the main methods for collecting language use data from a variety of populations and in a range of social contexts. Emphasis will be on the choice of materials, naturalness of tasks, operationalization of variables and impact of investigator identity. Mixed methods as well as research ethics will be discussed. Students will have the opportunity to design a small-scale study and receive feedback on it in class.

Day-to-day program

Monday: introduction: types of elicitation (explicit; implicit, metalinguistic); Research Ethics (on- and offline)

Tuesday: surveys / questionnaires / DCTs (open, closed) / oral, written / online; The importance of questions asked

Wednesday: interviews (individual, focus group) – observer’s paradox; The impact of the interviewer on the data collected

Thursday: role-plays (open, closed; online, face-to-face), match-guise; The importance of task selection and the language of instructions

Friday: looking ahead: citizen sociolinguistics; short presentations of student projects and feedback

Reading list

Background and preparatory readings:

Mallinson, Christine, Becky Childs, & Gert Van Herk (2018, eds.), Data Collection in Sociolinguistics: Methods and Applications (second edition). New York/London: Routledge.

Jucker, Andreas H., Klaus Schneider & Wolfram Bublitz (2018) Methods in Pragmatics. Handbooks of Pragmatics [HOPS] 10. Mouton de Gruyter.

Also explore:

https://www.vsnu.nl/nl_NL/nieuwsbericht/nieuwsberi... (follow link: Dutch Code of Conduct for Academic Integrity)

http://www.nethics.nl/Gedragscode-Ethical-Code/ (follow link: Latest version June 2018)

Course readings (obligatory):

Lecture 1:

Meyerhoff, Miriam (2016) Methods, innovations and extensions: Reflections on half a century of methodology in social dialectology. Journal of Sociolinguistics 20: 4, 431–452. https://doi.org/10.1111/josl.12195

Locher, Miriam & Bolander, Brook (forthcoming). Ethics in pragmatics. Journal of Pragmatics, special issue on «Quo Vadis, Pragmatics?» ed. by Marina Terkourafi & Michael Haugh.

Lecture 2:

Dollinger, Stefan (2012). The written questionnaire as a sociolinguistic data gathering tool: Testing its validity. Journal of English Linguistics 40: 1, 74–110.

Golato, Andrea (2003). Studying Compliment Responses: A Comparison of DCTs and Recordings of Naturally Occurring Talk. Applied Linguistics 24 :1, 90–121. https://doi.org/10.1093/applin/24.1.90

Spencer-Oatey, Helen (1993). Conceptions of social relations and pragmatics research. Journal of Pragmatics 20: 1, 27-47.

Lecture 3:

Guy Bailey and Jan Tillery (1999). The Rutledge Effect: The Impact of Interviewers on Survey Results in Linguistics. American Speech 74: 4, 389-402.

Lecture 4:

Yusuke Okada (2010). Role-play in oral proficiency interviews: Interactive footing and interactional competencies. Journal of Pragmatics 42, 1647–1668.

Lecture 5:

Svendsen, Bente Ailin (2018). The dynamics of citizen sociolinguistics. Journal of Sociolinguistics 22 : 2, 137–160.

Further readings (optional):


There will be one in-class assignment in 2 parts, and one (longer, written) assignment to be completed after the course. The in-class assignment is collaborative in the sense that its two parts will be completed by different students. The final assignment is an individual project.

In-class assignment Part I: Outline a research question of sociolinguistic interest that you would like to address; explain which methodology (of the ones introduced in this course) you would use to answer it and why; anticipate problems to data collection and propose solutions (approx. 1,500 words or 3 pages). PART I of the in-class assignment will be due on Day 4 (online submission before 17.00)

In-class assignment Part II: Write a short review (500-words or 1 page) of someone else’s 1,500-word project description (the in-class assignment Part I); assess their choice of methodology, identifying pros and cons; if necessary, propose alternative/complementary methodologies. Please bring this to class as hard copy on Day 5.

Final assignment: conduct the study you proposed incorporating feedback received in-class as a pilot-study with an appropriately small sample (e.g., 2-3 instances if using an interview or role-play methodology, 10 people taking a questionnaire) and write up a short report in which you highlight potential shortcomings revealed by the pilot and how they could be amended in a full-scale study.