Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Experimental Techniques and Paradigms

LEVEL 02 - Years 2, 3 in Modular Undergraduate Course


DEPARTMENT Institute of Linguistics and Language Technology

DESCRIPTION This unit aims to give students a thorough grounding in experimental design and analysis. It builds on the course "Statistics for Natural Language Analysis", in which students are introduced to basic statistics. It will cover the following topics:

- The concept of an experiment, populations and samples, and sampling techniques;
- Experimental design, independent and dependent variables, and balance;
- Analysis of experimental data, covering both qualitative and quantitative techniques;
- Statistical hypothesis testing: the formulation of hypotheses, the concept of falsification and statistical significance; fundamental tests for testing hypotheses with normal and non-normal data (chi-square, t-test, ANOVA etc);
- An overview of experimental paradigms in psycholinguistics (e.g. priming, masked priming etc);
- The use of software to design and execute experiments.

Practical tasks form an important part of this unit. Students will be encouraged to bring to bear their theoretical knowledge on the practical task of experimental design.

Study-unit Aims

By giving students a thorough grounding in experimental design techniques, the unit aims to prepare them to:

- answer empirical questions by formulating precise hypotheses and designing experiments accordingly;
- select the correct statistical procedures to test hypotheses on data;
- design experiments that fit the hypotheses.

Learning Outcomes

1. Knowledge & Understanding: By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- reason in probabilistic terms about possible outcomes in an experimental setting;
- identify the best experimental paradigm to address a research question;
- formulate precise hypotheses to answer specific research questions.

2. Skills: By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- design experiments to test hypotheses;
- use software to program and execute experiments;
- apply statistical analysis to reject a null hypothesis;
- interpret published statistical results.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings

- I. Bornkessel-Schlesewsky and M. Schlesewsky (2009). Processing Syntax and Morphology. Oxford: Oxford University Press [Unavailable in UoM Library]
- M. Carrieras and C. Clifton jr (2004). The online study of sentence comprehension: Eyetracking, ERPs and beyond. UK: Psychology Press [Unavailable in UoM Library]
- D. Jurafsky & J. H. Martin (2009). Speech and Language Processing. (2nd edition). Indiana: Prentice Hall [Unavailable in UoM Library]

ADDITIONAL NOTES Students taking LIN2301 must have LIN1301 or some background knowledge in Elementary Statistics.

STUDY-UNIT TYPE Lecture and Practicum

Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Presentation SEM2 No 15%
Assignment SEM2 Yes 85%


The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2021/2. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.