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Experimental methods

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/Proceedings - With ISBN/ISSNChapter

Publication date30/12/2022
Host publicationIntroducing Linguistics
EditorsJonathan Culpeper, Beth Malory, Claire Nance, Daniel Van Olmen, Dimitrinka Atanasova, Sam Kirkham, Aina Casaponsa
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages15
ISBN (electronic)9781003045571
ISBN (print)9780367493011, 9780367493028
<mark>Original language</mark>English


The use of experimental methods to study linguistic phenomena has increased exponentially in the last decades. As a result, students in linguistics frequently find themselves reading experimental reports or developing experimental studies for their dissertations, often without any formal training on how to design and run experiments. This chapter provides a brief introduction to the study of language using experimental methods. In doing so, we first describe fundamental principles underpinning experimental research and key characteristics of controlled, or ‘true’, experiments. We then discuss two types of design that students are very likely to encounter in the experimental literature. Our chapter concludes with an outline of the basic steps involved in conducting an experimental study (e.g. in the context of an undergraduate dissertation). Our goal is to supply readers with the tools for understanding scientific papers and evaluate their validity, as well as an initial resource to which they can turn when developing their own research assignments.