Language Investigation Report
When you write up your investigation it has to be done as a report, not an essay. This means that it must be set out as detailed below.
Introduction and Aims
Explain what your project is about and exactly what you hope to find out. You can comment on why the issue is worth exploring, and if you know about any previous research in the area you can explain about it. Your aim should be to find the answer to a real question about some aspect of language. You should phrase the question carefully, taking into account the limitations of what you can expect to achieve in the time and conditions available. You should then break your question down into sub-questions, which should go into more detail about the language involved. It is better to have a tightly focussed question, on a narrow aspect of language, rather than a broad woolly one.
This is a straightforward, factual description of exactly what your language data is. This means information like the title, author and date of publication of a book, and the numbers of pages you will be analysing. Or it could be the facts describing a transcript of children talking: names of children, ages, where and when they were recorded and any other vital contextual information, and length of transcript.
Here, firstly, you justify the way in which you have selected your data. If you are taking a sample from a larger text or body of language, you say how you selected the sample to make it representative of the whole. If you are doing a comparison, you say how you excluded other variables. For example, you might have chosen different versions of the same story in order to exclude the variable of content, because you wanted to focus on differences in style arising from having different audiences. If you have recorded people speaking, you would probably have to explain how you arranged things so that they spoke naturally. If you set up an experiment or conducted a questionnaire, you would explain how you ensured that this was designed so that it would produce reliable and representative data. Secondly, you explain your methods of analysis: which methods you have chosen and why.
This is the biggest and most important section. It must be broken down into sub-sections, which must have sub-headings. Even the sub-headings can have sub-headings. These headings will often be drawn from the language frameworks, but may be something else, such as “Representation of the Cat”, depending on what you are trying to find out. The analysis for an investigation is like those you have been doing on other texts for analysis essays, but for the investigation the analysis has to be more thorough and therefore more scientific. This means that you don’t just write about whatever you can, but you pursue your particular aim, and you do a thorough job of answering any particular question with respect to all the language in the data. Some, at least, of your analysis is going to be quantitative: you may be talking about percentages and proportional frequencies, and you may be presenting findings in graphs, pie-charts etc. There will also be qualitative analysis based on cogent interpretation of the data. If you do this properly you will be able to say very solid and convincing things in your conclusion.
Here you systematically…