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Department of Linguistics

LING333: Australian English

Group Project

The group project involves the execution, report and presentation of a research project conducted by the group (or individual) over the course of the semester. It specifically addresses learning outcomes 1, 2, 6 and 7 and all generic skills outcomes. The mark obtained is common to all participants. The report must be submitted in hard copy but also an electronic version in Word is required to be submitted via ilearn.

The project is based on a study involving collection and analysis of data from fieldwork or experiments. Students are required to informally observe language behaviour in their community and come to class with ideas about interesting aspects of language to explore. Groups of students with similar interests will be formed and project ideas developed to research design stage in consultation with the unit convenor. Ethical conduct of research will be emphasised and specifically addressed in tutorials. Students review appropriate literature, collect and analysis data and report on the results in a written report and a tutorial presentation. Abstracts from previous Group Projects can be found here.

Learning Objectives

The learning objectives of the project are to facilitate:
  • the development of independent and peer learning strategies through engagement with research literature and data
  • creative learning through ownership of student directed analysis
  • creative use of data to answer questions about language.
  • an understanding of the importance of ethical research practice
  • effective teamwork
  • peer learning through collaboration
  • effective communication in writing and through class presentation to clearly communicate knowledge, process, conclusions, evaluation and reasoning.

Organisation of the Project

a. Planning

Individual observation takes place outside the classroom. The whole group meets to discuss these observations and different aspects of Australia English are selected to objectively examine through observation and data collection.

Groups of students with similar interests are formed (groups of 3 or 4). Processes involved in group work are discussed. Strengths of individuals in the group are identified. Roles that each student will undertake are assigned. Division of labour is negotiated.

Determine:

  • the group leader
  • the part of the assignment that each person will be responsible for
  • meeting times
  • a timeline for reading, data collection, analysis, write up
  • resources required

All roles are recognised in the workload of the group.

Students are expected to keep detailed notes of meetings etc. to include in the individual portfolios.

b. Literature review

Conduct library research that will develop your knowledge of the chosen area. Identify and develop an understanding of important theoretical aspects of the area.

c. Aims

Have a clear set of aims for the research. What questions do you want to ask? What are your hypotheses based on the literature?

d. Design

Design the study to achieve the aims. Clearly specify all the components that will be required to fulfill the task. Be able to explain the theoretical framework for the project identified through your library research.

e. Ethics

Ensure that ethical issues have been considered and addressed. All students must read the following sections from the “National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research 2007”

  • Preamble
  • Section 1: Values and Principles of Ethical Conduct
  • Chapter 2.2: General requirements for consent
  • Chapter 3.1: Qualitative methods
  • Chapter 4.2: Children and young people
  • Chapter 4.3: People in dependent or unequal relationships
  • Chapter 5.4: Conflicts of interest

If your project involves online data collection, you must also read the guidelines at http://www.research.mq.edu.au/researchers/ethics/human_ethics/onlineresearch

If your project involves working with children under 18 years you must complete a Prohibited Employment Declaration. This form must be submitted to the unit convenor and subsequently lodged with the Macquarie University Ethics Committee. It must also be carried with you while conducting research with children under 18 years.

Every student must also sign the Ethical Conduct of Research Declaration

Each group must supply an information sheet (authorised by A/Prof Cox) to attach to the participant consent form.

At the completion of the project each group must give A/Prof Cox, for secure storage, any raw data that contains identifying information.

f. Implementation

  • Collect data
  • Analyse data
  • Answer questions
  • Draw conclusions

g. Write up

The report must be written up using scientific format discussed below.

h. Present findings to the class

A group presentation of the project detailing the processes and outcomes is required. Innovative presentations are encouraged. The assessment rubric for the group presentation can be found here.

i. Conflict Resolution

Conflict resolution must be initially attempted within the group. However if resolution appears impossible without assistance please contact A/Prof Cox.

Written Report

Structure

The report is to be no more than 3000 words (excluding appendices) and must be structured according to standard scientific format including:

  • Abstract: This is a short summary of the project and should be no longer than 200 words. Your abstract will appear on the website for the information of participants.
  • Background (Survey of the literature): This section discusses any past work in the area and examines the theoretical background to the topic. What has been done before? How will your project add to what is already known?

  • Rationale: This section details the reasons the group chose this particular topic and why the topic is interesting. In this section you should also discuss the aims of the project. i.e.
    • Why did you chose this topic?
    • What questions do you want to ask?
    • What do you hope to achieve?
    • You can also hypothesise about what you expect to find based on your literature review.

  • Method: This section describes what you did. What preparations were necessary? What ethical issues did you consider and how did you comply with ethical research principles? What data did you collect and who from? Describe in detail the data collection methods including any standard instructions used. You must give enough detail to allow your project to be replicated by others.

  • Results: In this section you will present the results from your data collection and will use appropriate tables and diagrams to illustrate your results.
  • Discussion: In this section you must examine the implications of your results and relate your findings back to the theoretical issues discussed in the literature review. You must also acknowledge the limitations of the research and what you would do to further explore the area in future work.
  • Conclusion: This brief statement summarises the aims of the project, your findings and what you have achieved to extend knowledge in the area.
  • References: Your list of cited resources.
  • Appendices: Any raw materials that are pertinent to the project are included here.

Assessment Criteria

The group project will be assessed according to this rubric and the quality of the following:

  • rationale
  • structure and presentation of the written report
  • depth and critical analysis of literature survey
  • statement of aims and hypotheses
  • appropriate research design
  • acknowledgement of ethical issues
  • clear description of field work/experiment including difficulties
  • analysis of results
  • success in relating the findings back to the literature
  • acknowledgement of limitations and statement of future directions
  • drawing conclusions
  • clarity, structure and innovation in class presentation
  • creativity