The aim of this task is to examine and evaluate different methodological approaches to researching topical issue within second language (English) education.
You are required to choose two different pieces of research that address a common topic (e.g., teachers’
questioning techniques, using technology in the L2 classroom, etc.), and prepare a comparative essay that
includes these main components:
• For background/context, critically consider the main professional, public, and scholarly debates on
the topic you have chosen.
• Succintly summarise the different arguments presented in your two research articles, and critically
examine their main points of disagreement and agreement.
• Discuss the criteria you employ to evaluate research, and explain how these are informed by the
educational research methodology literature.
• Compare and critically evaluate the two different research approaches used in the articles with
respect to their main argument, conclusions, and knowledge claims.
• Ensure language is clear, cohesive, and appropriately referenced using APA conventions.
To help you prepare for this assignment, we offer the following questions to guide your reading and
• What are some of the main points of debate about the chosen topic?
• How do we judge contrasting research approaches and competing arguments?
• How do we ‘make sense’ of and evaluate the different claims made about topical and controversial
• What constitutes evidence in evidence-based educational research?
• Is it appropriate to acknowledge standpoints and contexts of different ‘stakeholders’ (e.g., parents,
academics, teachers, policy makers, young people, managers…) and how might we best do so?
• What are the different criteria by which we might judge and evaluate research approaches,
research quality and claims and arguments?
Note: Sub-weightings below are indicators of relative importance against each aspect of the overall task
taken as a whole – they do not result in an individual quantitative score components.
A critical summary of key professional, public, and
scholarly debates on the chosen topic – 15%
A critical examination of key points of agreement and
disagreement between arguments in the research
articles from on the chosen topic – 25%
A discussion of your criteria for evaluating
educational research – 25%
A comparative evaluation of research approaches
used within the folio research articles with respect to their
argument and knowledge claims – 25%
Language/expression, including academic referencing