Ling 632: Laboratory and Quantitative Research Methods

Fall 2017: Tues & Thurs, 1:30p - 2:45p, Gen Lab (selected sessions) and Moore 204 (regular classroom)

Instructor and contact information

Instructor: Amy Schafer
Office: Moore 562
Office phone: 956-3226
General lab telephone: (808) 956-5854 
Phonetics lab telephone: (808) 956-4618

Course description

This course covers commonly used techniques for quantitative research on language, including small-scale studies that might be part of field research and common experimental techniques used in the lab or the field. It includes topics such as using Praat, using spreadsheets, making graphs, conducting basic statistical analyses, using experimental software (e.g., E-Prime), planning how many participants/speakers you need for your study, learning ways in which your data can be affected by what you present to/ask of your participants, dealing with outlier values, and other aspects of planning, analyzing, and presenting your study.

We'll discuss techniques that are common in research on speech perception, speech production, sentence comprehension, sentence production, first and second language acquisition, experimental syntax, discourse processing, and other areas.  Because this is a general, introductory course, it will not typically cover techniques that are specific to one of these areas or provide in-depth treatment of any area, although advanced topics are possible, with permission. 

Who is this course for?

This is an introductory course, for any graduate student who is conducting research on language. If you are interested in something more advanced, talk to me about the possibility of specialized arrangements.

Next offering:

LING 632 is offered as faculty schedules permit, in alternation with a methods course on R/statistical analysis. Students are encouraged to take Ling 632 in conjunction with Ling 640Y and/or other courses that rely on quantitative methods. Ling 632 can precede, follow, or be taken concurrently with related courses.

Associated research and teaching laboratories

Language Analysis and Experimentation Labs (LAE Labs) 


None.  That said, the course will be much more valuable if you have ideas that you want to explore using laboratory tools, experiments, or quantitative methods.  If you don’t have any ideas yet, meet with your advisor for some suggestions. You do not need to have taken statistics to take this course.

Requirements it meets

This course counts as a methods course for the Department of Linguistics, and is the default methods course for students pursuing an experimental research program in Linguistics.

Course objectives

Some useful links

LBC experiments
Open Science Framework

Software for experiments: 

Praat software (free; installed in the LAE Labs)
E-Prime (installed in the LAE Labs)
PsychoPy (free; installed in the LAE Labs)


Praat software (plus Sublime Text for editing your scripts)
Indiana University online phonetics resources

Word recognition, corpora:

The Language Goldmine
English Lexicon Project 
Corpus of Contemporary American English (COCA)
Google N-Gram Viewer
British National Corpus
Age of Acquisition norms for English content words (as of Aug 2012: link to Excel file for norms; link to journal article about the norms)
Affective ratings for English words and Dutch words
Normed picture stimuli
IRIS database of instruments used in bilingualism research
WordNet (lexical database of English with sense relations)
EsPal (Spanish, includes word frequency)

Statistics, research design, and R:

R Project
R Studio
tidyverse (dplyr, ggplot2, etc)
UCLA Institute for Digital Research and Education: R FAQs
Statistical computation website
Research Design Explained: Instructor website
Research Design Explained: Student website 

Image sets:

Normed picture stimuli
IRIS database of instruments used in bilingualism research
Pictures of tools matched with other objects and non-objects
Sebastiaan Mathot's list of image sets (and more)

Sample tasks: 

Dichotic listening example 1 (by Russ Schuh, UCLA) 
Visual word recognition
Auditory word recognition
Sentence processing
Maze task

Searching for references: 

GoogleScholar with UH login (for full-text accesss to subscribed journals)
UH Manoa research tools and databases

APA style guidelines:

American Psychological Association (APA) style (and links for ordering manuals)
Purdue Online Writing Lab info on APA style