Mainz University lecturer publishes first comprehensive textbook on the various fields of research and methodologies used in linguistics
8 November 2021
Over the past decades, linguistics has developed into an increasingly interdisciplinary and empirical field of research with numerous sub-disciplines. The current spectrum of linguistic research ranges from computer-assisted data analysis, which can be used for tasks like analyzing texts, to lab experiments exploring, for example, how the brain processes language, and on to field research, including in situ observation of the use of language in different social and cultural contexts. Yet to date there have been no comprehensive teaching materials offering an overview of the various fields of research and their corresponding research methods. Dr. Svenja Völkel of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) and Dr. Franziska Kretzschmar of the Leibniz Institute for the German Language (IDS) in Mannheim, herself a former scientific staff member at JGU, now have co-published a comprehensive textbook to fill that gap. Their book, entitled Introducing Linguistic Research, was recently released by Cambridge University Press. Völkel and Kretzschmar are also self-publishing supplemental online teaching materials.
Starting point in a project funded by the Gutenberg Teaching Council
The publication traces its origins back to a joint project carried out by Völkel and Kretzschmar in 2014, which was funded by the Gutenberg Teaching Council (GTC), the central institution for promoting teaching at Mainz University. "At that time, we both held research-oriented lectures at JGU and felt the lack of teaching materials offering a comprehensive overview of the fields of research and methodologies in linguistics. The idea was born," said Völkel. "We are very thankful for the support of the Gutenberg Teaching Council, which allowed us to develop the materials. These have since been adopted as a permanent part of the Master's degree program in Linguistics at JGU." Meanwhile, there has been strong interest in the teaching materials outside JGU as well, also from abroad, which led to interest by Cambridge University Press in publishing Völkel and Kretzschmar's book. "The textbook is designed first and foremost for linguistics students in the initial stages of a Master's degree program who are trying to identify their first major research project," concluded Völkel. However, it may be a potentially valuable resource for both Bachelor's degree students and established researchers as well.