Studying for a Masters in TESOL or Applied Linguistics provides the definitive go-to text for all students studying an MA in TESOL or Applied Linguistics, as well as closely related degrees such as an MA in English Language Teaching. Written in a clear and user-friendly format and drawing on authentic and highly relevant source materials with the inclusion of practical tasks and answer keys for self-correction throughout, this book demystifies each stage of the MA TESOL/MA Applied Linguistics journey.

Covering practical programme components, such as lesson observation and teaching practice, and supported by supplementary material online, this book helps the reader to develop the key skills required to successfully complete an MA including:

  • How to effectively manage your time
  • How to get the most out of your lectures
  • How to develop effective reading skills
  • How to become a better academic writer
  • How to deal with various types of assessments
  • How to deliver effective oral presentations

Guiding students step by step through the process of how to choose, research and then write a successful dissertation, the book closes with guidance and tips for students on how to proceed after completing an MA TESOL/Applied Linguistics. This book is therefore essential reading for those contemplating or undertaking an MA in either of these areas.


Why this Book?


Being an Effective Student in the Context of

MA TESOL/Applied Linguistics


    1. What should I expect? What will others expect of me?
    2. Independent Task 1.1

    3. Developing Effective Reading Strategies
    4. Independent Task 1.2a

      Independent Task 1.2b

    5. Planning Your Time
    6. Accessing Resources & Learning to Work Smart
    7. Independent Task 1.4

    8. Identifying Sources of Support

Independent Task 1.5

Suggested Answers to Independent Tasks

Resources for Further Reading


Academic Speaking & Listening


2.1 Contexts Involving Academic Speaking

2.1.1 Academic Speaking in Groups & Seminars

Independent Task 2.1a

2.1.2 Academic Speaking in Oral Presentations

Independent Task 2.1b

Independent Task 2.1c

Independent Task 2.1d

Independent Task 2.1e

2.2 Contexts Involving Academic Listening

Independent Task 2.2a

Independent Task 2.2b

Suggested Answers to Independent Tasks

Resources for Further Reading


Using Academic Sources


3.1 Why Do I Need Academic Sources?

Independent Task 3.1

3.2 Plagiarism & How to Avoid It

3.3 Avoiding Other Common Forms of Academic Misconduct

Independent Task 3.3

3.4 Paraphrasing

Independent Task 3.4a

Independent Task 3.4b

Independent Task 3.4c

Independent Task 3.4d

3.5 Making Citations

Independent Task 3.5

3.6 Direct Quotations

Independent Task 3.6a

Independent Task 3.6b

3.7 Bringing It All Together

Independent Task 3.7

3.8 Compiling A Reference List or Bibliography

Independent Task 3.8

3.9 Different Academic Style Conventions

Suggested Answers to Independent Tasks

Resources for Further Reading


Becoming A More Confident & Proficient Academic Writer


4.1 Fundamental Features of Effective Academic Writing

4.1.1 The Importance of Clear Structuring

4.1.2 Use of the First Person

4.1.3 Hedging & the Avoidance of Sweeping Generalisations

Independent Task 4.1a

4.1.4 Use of Appropriate Academic Lexis

Independent Task 4.1b

4.1.5 Supporting All Claims with Evidence

Independent Task 4.1c

4.2 Building A Coherent Academic Argument

Independent Task 4.2

Suggested Answers to Independent Tasks

Resources for Further Reading


Dealing with Different Types of Written Coursework Assignments


5.1 Dealing with Academic Essays

5.1.1 ‘Compare & Contrast’ Type Essays

Independent Task 5.1a

5.1.2 ‘Discussing a Quotation’ Type Essays

Independent Task 5.1b

5.1.3 ‘Critically Evaluate’ Type Essays

Independent Task 5.1c

5.2 Dealing with Linguistic Analysis Tasks

5.2.1 Which Dimensions of a Task Should I Analyze?

Independent Task 5.2a

5.2.2 What Form Should a Textual Analysis Take?

Independent Task 5.2b

5.3 Dealing with Reflective Writing Tasks

5.3.1 The Difference Between Description & Critical Reflection

Independent Task 5.3

5.4 Marking Criteria

Suggested Answers to Independent Tasks

Resources for Further Reading


Teaching Observation & Practice


6.1 The Relationship Between Theory & Practice

Independent Task 6.1a

Independent Task 6.1b

6.2 Teaching Observation

6.2.1 Observation Tools & Mechanisms

Independent Task 6.2a

6.2.2 The Observation Cycle

Independent Task 6.2b

6.3 Lesson Planning

6.3.1 Different Conceptualizations of Lessons

Independent Task 6.3a

6.3.2 Different ‘Ingredients’ in Lessons

Independent Task 6.3b

6.3.3 Approaches to Writing Lesson Plans

Independent Task 6.3c

6.4 Teaching Practice

6.4.1 Peer Micro-Teaching

6.4.2 Team Teaching/Teaching Your Own Class

6.5 The Importance of Critical Reflection

Independent Task 6.5

Suggested Answers to Independent Tasks

Resources for Further Reading


Planning Your Dissertation


7.1 Choosing A Suitable Topic

7.1.1 Where Do I Begin?

Independent Task 7.1a

Independent Task 7.1b

Independent Task 7.1c

Independent Task 7.1d

7.1.2 How Should I Manage My Time?

Independent Task 7.1e

7.2 Deciding on an Appropriate Research Paradigm

7.2.1 Understanding Ontology & Epistomology

7.2.2 Quantitative or Qualitative?

Independent Task 7.2a

7.2.3 Mixed Methods

Independent Task 7.2b

7.3 Completing a Formal Proposal

Independent Task 7.3a

Independent Task 7.3b

7.4 What to Expect from your Supervisor

7.4.1 Some Tips for Getting the Most out of the

Supervisor-Supervisee Relationship

Independent Task 7.4

Suggested Answers to Independent Tasks

Resources for Further Reading


Writing Up Your Dissertation Part I


8.1 Dissertation Structure & Length

8.1.1 Rhetorical Purpose

Independent Task 8.1a

Independent Task 8.1b

8.1.2 The Importance of Effective Signposting

Independent Task 8.1c

8.2 Writing Chapter 1: The Introduction

Independent Task 8.2a

Independent Task 8.2b

8.3 Writing Chapter 2: The Literature Review

Independent Task 8.3a

Independent Task 8.3b

Independent Task 8.3c

8.4 Writing Chapter 3: The Methodology

Independent Task 8.4a

8.4.1 Quantitative Forms of Research Methodology

8.4.2 Qualitative Forms of Research Methodology

Independent Task 8.4b

8.4.3 Approaches to Data Coding

8.4.4 Ethical Considerations

Independent Task 8.4c

8.4.5 Reflexivity

8.4.6 Some Closing Reminders

Suggested Answers to Independent Tasks

Resources for Further Reading


Writing Up Your Dissertation Part II


9.1 Writing Chapter 4: Results

9.1.1 Presenting Quantitative Results

Independent Task 9.1a

9.1.2 Presenting Qualitative Results

Independent Task 9.1b

9.2 Writing Chapter 5: Discussion

9.3 Writing Chapter 6: Conclusion

9.3.1 A Note on Summarising

9.3.2 Acknowledging Strengths & Limitations

Independent Task 9.3

9.3.3 Recommendations for Future Action

9.4 Beginnings: Acknowledgements & Abstracts

Independent Task 9.4a

Independent Task 9.4b

9.5 Endings: Appendices

Independent Task 9.5

9.6 Final Considerations

Independent Task 9.6

9.7 Proofreading

Suggested Answers to Independent Tasks

Resources for Further Reading


Life Beyond Your Masters


10.1 Going on to Further Study

10.1.1 Doing a PhD or an EdD

10.1.2 Doing Other Qualifications

10.2 Going Back to Work

10.2.1 Updating Your CV

Independent Task 10.2a

10.2.2 Jobs Using TESOL & Applied Linguistics

Independent Task 10.2b

10.2.3 The Traditional Job Search Vs The Creative Job Search

Independent Task 10.2c

10.2.4 Working in the Higher Education Sector

Independent Task 10.2d

10.3 Continuing Professional Development

10.3.1 Publishing Your Dissertation

10.3.2 Presenting at Conferences

10.3.3 Finding Your Professional Niche

10.4 Closing Thoughts

Suggested Answers to Independent Tasks

Resources for Further Reading

A List of Common Journals for TESOL & Applied Linguistics

A List of Useful Organisations