English 713 : Topics in Applied Linguistics

Syllabus for Fall 2008

Mondays, 4:00 - 6:30 p.m., 7105 Helen C. White Hall

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bulletAims of the Course bulletAssessment and Grading
bulletCourse Outline


This course is jointly managed by the English Language and Linguistics faculty and the students enrolled in the course. Faculty include specialists in second language acquisition, language socialization, syntax, phonology, research methods, historical linguistics, language variation, discourse analysis, and critical applied linguistics. It is coordinated by Professor Young.

Professor Richard F Young 7163 Helen C White Hall
Office hours: Thursdays, 12:00 - 2:00 p.m., or by appointment

E-mail: rfyoung at wisc dot edu
Home Page: www.wisc.edu/english/rfyoung
Phone: 263-2679

Class E-mail List

Use the class e-mail list as a public bulletin board for discussions about the class. You may send e-mail messages to faculty instructors and to all students registered for this course through this e-mail list. Send your messages to english713-1-f08 at lists dot wisc dot edu.

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Aims of the Course

An important part of graduate student training is socialization into the practices of researchers in the academic field in which the student will become a member. In English 713 students will be given guided experience in a practice integral to their field, namely, preparing and delivering a paper to an academic audience. Activity in the course involves developing plans for, writing, and presenting a paper on one’s research or theoretical interests. The event will be a symposium, organized by and consisting of presentations by the participants in English 713. It will be held here on campus on Thursday, January 29. Students are encouraged to ask fellow students and faculty in their area to attend.

English 713 is organized as a seminar in which several of the English Language and Linguistics faculty participate. Prof. Young serves as coordinator in the planning of the symposium and the presentations, and other members of the faculty serve as readers, where relevant, of your written paper on which your presentation is based. English 713 is student-centered with input from the faculty participants.

During our first few meetings, we will develop a friendly but serious seminar environment. Students will choose and commit to a goal for the semester.  Goals may include developing research begun in other courses, engaging in a literature review, and/or writing a research paper that supports preparation for a comprehensive examination.

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Planning the Symposium

The symposium, to be held on Monday, November 17, will be planned and run by members of the class. Toward that end, students will take the following responsibilities/roles:

General coordinators. These people will be the contact persons for any questions or problems that come up, and will be in charge of ensuring that the planning schedule that we come up with proceeds on time. They will be in touch with all of the others in the planning process and will contact people (including the advisor) whenever necessary.

Abstract coordinators. While everyone will write and submit an abstract, the coordinators will arrange the process of who reads which abstracts, what criteria and means of feedback will be asked of readers, and will distribute revised abstracts to members of the class. Additionally, coordinators will assemble the short summaries which accompany the abstracts and give them to the program committee for inclusion in the symposium brochure.

Program committee. This committee will be responsible for determining the symposium program organization and schedule, determining (in consultation with everyone else) the date and time, title, room/s, any necessary A/V equipment, and advertising.

Rehearsal coordinators. Responsibilities include scheduling of rehearsals of presentations (1-2 rehearsals), determining whether to provide videotaped feedback sessions and/or written feedback forms

In addition to the specific responsibilities above, all class members will be involved in the symposium process in these additional ways, as:

Abstract readers and responders (as guided by the abstract coordinators and the advisor). When/if relevant, faculty members may be asked to read and respond to specific abstracts.

Audience members during rehearsals and during the symposium

Moderators/Session chairs during the symposium

Research Paper Proposal

A written proposal outlining your research question and methodology, including a bibliography of no more than 12 relevant previous studies is due on Monday, October 13.  LATE PROPOSALS WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED.

Final Research Paper

The written paper on which your symposium presentation is based (15-25 pages not including title page, abstract, references, or appendix). The research paper is due on Monday, December 22. LATE PAPERS WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED.

Both proposal and final paper should be formatted using the conventions of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (5th edition, 2001), which is available in the University Book Store and in the ELL Library.

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Assessment and Grading

Letter grades will be awarded for the Research Paper Proposal (20%), for the final written Research Paper (50%), and for the Symposium Presentation (30%).

Your written Research Proposal and Final Paper will be evaluated according to the following criteria

1. Style

Is the report formatted in a consistent and appropriate style (e.g., APA)?

2. Title

Is the title informative and memorable?

3. Abstract

Has the author correctly summarized the paper? Are the following items included?

Statement of the topic and purpose
Description of the participants, materials, and procedures
Explanation of the statistical analyses
Summary of results and implications

4. Introduction

Is the framework of the study clear?

Literature Review. Can you tell where the study fits in?

Is the background or rationale provided?
Is the relationship to previous research clear?

Definitions. Are key terms defined and are these definitions used consistently?
Statement of purpose. Can you tell where the study is heading? Are any of the following included?

Research questions
Research hypotheses

5. Method

Is the study replicable?


Is the description of the participants adequate?
Is the method of selection clear?


Is there a description of tests, questionnaires, rating scales, and so forth?
Are the materials included as appendixes?
Do the variables represent reasonable operational definitions of the underlying constructs or characteristics involved?
Is there a description or drawing of any equipment (when applicable)?


Is there a description of the preparation of materials, administration, scoring, and so on?
Is there a description of the conditions during the study?


Is there a description of the arrangement and grouping of the data?
Are the statistical tests listed in order of use?
Is the confidence level (alpha) specified?

6. Results

Are all the statistical tests previously listed represented as results?
Is there a prose explanation?

7. Discussion/Conclusion

Is the original research question, or questions, answered?
Is there an explanation of why the results were as they were?
If the conclusion is based on previous research, is it well supported and reasoned?
If the conclusion is speculative, is it qualified as such and well reasoned?
Are suggestions for further research provided?

8. List of References and Endnotes

Are all the references cited in the test included?
Are any pertinent references missing?
Is the list of references in APA style?

9. Appendixes

Are the appendixes necessary?
Are they complete?

Your Symposium Presentation will be evaluated according to the following criteria

1. Introduction Did the introduction capture the audience’s interest? Was necessary background given? Was a clear purpose conveyed?
2. Organization Was there a clear organization? Were transitions between sections clear and effective? Did the organization lead to a clear conclusion?
3. Content Did the speaker support their points? Was the supporting material relevant and up to date?
4. Visual Aids Were visual aids used effectively and appropriately. Were they carefully prepared?
5. Conclusion Were key points reinforced? Was a sense of closure provided? If appropriate, was a course of action proposed?
6. Delivery Was the speaker natural, enthusiastic? Did they speak clearly? Were appropriate gestures, posture, expressions used?
7. Discussion Were questions from the audience answered accurately, clearly, effectively?


The grade of "Incomplete" will only be used for a student who has carried the course with a passing grade until near the end of the semester and then, because of illness or other unusual and substantial cause beyond his/her control, is unable to complete the research project.

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Course Outline

Date Activity
September 8 The first meeting of the course will be an introduction to the course, a brief discussion of the course goals, and a preliminary schedule for the semester.
September 15 Informal oral presentations of research interests
September 22 Informal oral presentations of research interests
September 29
4:00 - 5:15

Presentation of first drafts of research proposals

October 6
4:00 - 5:15

Four students meet informally in 7105 HCW to present second drafts of research proposals.

October 6
5:15 - 6:30
Three students meet informally in 7105 HCW to present second drafts of research proposals.
October 13 DEADLINE!
All students submit copies of Research Paper Proposals to faculty mentors and to all the other members of their interest group.

All students make oral presentations of their Research Paper Proposals at a plenary class meeting in 7105 HCW.

October 20
No class meeting. Meet with your faculty mentor during the week.
October 27
4:00 - 5:15
Four students meet informally in 7105 HCW to discuss how their work is progressing.
October 27
5:15 - 6:30

Three students meet informally in 7105 HCW to discuss how their work is progressing.

November 3
4:00 - 5:15

Four students meet informally in 7105 HCW to discuss how their work is progressing.

November 3
5:15 - 6:30

Three students meet informally in 7105 HCW to discuss how their work is progressing.

November 10 No class meeting. Meet with your faculty mentor during the week.
Wednesday, November 12

Rehearsal for Graduate Student Symposium
Room 6191 Herlen C White Hall
4:00 - 7:00 p.m.

November 17

Graduate Student Symposium
Room 7191 Helen C White Hall
3:30 - 7:00 p.m.

November 24 No class meeting. Meet with your faculty mentor during the week.
December 1

No class meeting. Meet with your faculty mentor during the week.

December 19 DEADLINE!
All students submit final written Research Papers.

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This page last revised October 22, 2008 .