The essay is a research project that allows the student to investigate an aspect of teaching or learning of particular interest in depth. The topic of the Master's essay is negotiated with the essay director (one of the participating MALL faculty members), and draws on materials learned in all three cores of study.  (3 credits)

Essay Criteria

General: The essay is a project of about 30-40 pages in length with a substantive research foundation conducted after completion of all coursework.   The two types of projects described below are guidelines; students with interests that do not neatly fit into these designations may negotiate the format of their essay with their essay director within program constraints. Refer to the Essay Process  for guidelines to begin and complete your essay.

Essay director: Students should ask the MALL faculty member whose area of specialization most closely matches the proposed essay topic to direct their essay.  It is not required that the essay director specialize in the target language of the student.  Students should contact one of the MALL faculty with a summary of the proposed topic and preferred timeline for completion at least one semester before starting work on the essay.  The Research Methodologists will agree or decline to direct essays based on topic, timeline, and availability.

Essay Type 1: Pilot Study

Students interested in carrying out a small-scale investigation into an area of foreign language teaching or learning should select this option.  Approximately one-third of the essay will be a presentation of the theoretical framework and past research on the topic.  Another third will consist of the design, justification, and results of the study.  The final third will contain the data analysis and conclusions drawn.  Typically pilot studies will be classroom-based research used to address questions of interest both to the MALL student's particular teaching context as well as to the broader professional audience of foreign language teachers.

Essay Type 2: Materials Development

Students interested in producing original pedagogical materials grounded in current theory and research should select this option.  Approximately one-third of the essay will be a presentation of the theoretical framework and past research related to the approach, methods and/or goals of the pedagogical materials. Another third will consist of a detailed description of the pedagogical materials created by the student.  The final third will contain a critical analysis and evaluation of the adherence of the materials to the theoretical and research frameworks presented in the first third of the essay and their implications for future research in the area and the broader professional audience of foreign language teachers.

Sample Essay Titles

Incidental Vocabulary Acquisition Versus Intentional Vocabulary Learning Through Extensive Reading: A Pilot Study by Nicole Setlak

Music as an Effective Teaching Tool for Spanish Culture and Vocabulary in the Elementary School Classroom (Grades 1-8) by Anna Dewey

Examining the Integrated Performance Assessment as an Effective Assessment Tool in the Foreign Language Classroom by Andrea Seaton

Differentiated Instruction: A Review of the Research and Its Application for a Beginning Foreign Language Classroom by Rebecca Riggs

Collaboration in Wikis and the Effects on Student Motivation in Second Language Writing by Selina Eid

Examining a Multiliteracies Approach to Lesson Planning in the Foreign Language Classroom by Liz Anderson

Video Projects:  Effective Instructional Tools for the Foreign Language Classroom, or Just a Passing Instructional Fad? by Michelle Snyder

Assignment of Grammatical Gender in L2 French: A Review of the Research and Its Role in Grammar Instruction and Beginning-Level University Textbooks, by Ashley C. Weber

Listening Strategies and Instructional Tools, by Laurel Landrum

Using the Multiliteracy Framework to Implement Extended Literary Instruction in a Novice-Level Foreign Language Context  by Errin T. Menna

A Process-Based Approach to Teaching Reading and Writing Through Fairy Tales by Andrea Boos

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