LING-571 Sociolinguistic Field Methods
Spring for 2010-2011
This course will provide you with hands-on experience with methods for collecting data on language in its social context, e.g. participant observation, surveys, sociolinguistic interviews, subjective reaction tests. We will learn about different methods in the context of a sociolinguistic study of two or three nearby communities that we will initiate at the start of the semester. In addition, we will analyze short problems that can be addressed through the data. General topics related to the methods will be addressed, e.g. objectivity/subjectivity; community involvement; recording, managing, and transcribing data; strengths, weaknesses, and purposes of various approaches.

Course Goals:
The overall goals of the course include the following:
• Develop competence in the range of methods used to collect and analyze data in different areas of sociolinguistics
• Develop skills in observing, recording, and transcribing language in its social setting
• Review some major sociolinguistic field projects; design and conduct a small-scale community-based project in the local area that will connect to our larger departmental project, Language and Communication in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area.
• Be able to evaluate others’ research from a methodological standpoint
• Evaluate the appropriateness (and interdependence) of quantitative and qualitative methods
• Understand the interdependence of theory and method
• Examine the relationship between researchers and those who provide data
• Gain confidence in designing and conducting research projects
Credits: 3
Prerequisites: Working knowledge and ability in Linguistics, Familiarity with some area(s) of Sociolinguistics
More information
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