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Guide to A Level Language Investigations

Beth Kemp | Wednesday November 17, 2010

Categories: Hot Entries, Writing, Language Investigations, AQA A Level English Language A, ENGA4, AQA A Level English Language B, ENGB4, EDEXCEL A Level English Language, 6EN04, WJEC A Level English Language, LG3, KS5 Archive, AQA A Level, EDEXCEL A Level, WJEC A Level


Language Investigations

This is a guide to preparing students for the various ‘Investigations in English Language’ units that form part of many A Level English Language courses. It has been written to cover the A2 coursework requirements for the following examination boards:

AQA ‘A’ | AQA ‘B’ | Edexcel | WJEC
  • The basic requirements for the investigation are broadly similar across all boards but where needed, specific advice for a particular exam board’s specification is shown and clearly identified.

Assessment Focus (Assessment Objectives)

The assessment objectives vary only slightly in emphasis between the different board’s specifications, except that Edexcel is the only board to assess the Investigation against AO4.  The requirements for each AO are as follows:


  • Write accurately
  • Organise the information effectively (NB: boards vary in their position on what this means)
  • Guide the reader through the report/essay
  • Use terminology effectively: more detail and/or a greater range = better marks


  • Use theory to inform the investigation
  • Refer explicitly to established linguistic work
  • Use accepted methods to collect, analyse and report on the data
  • Evaluate existing theories and use existing theory to evaluate own data


  • Cite examples from the data sensibly
  • Interrogate the data with consideration of context
  • Link linguistic labels with analytical comment on intended meaning in context
  • Use appropriate terminology and linguistic approaches for the specific data analysed

AO4 (Edexcel only)

  • Show decision making process through the investigation
  • Use language skilfully and creatively in presenting the investigation
  • Use linguistic approaches and analyses effectively
  • Construct an investigation which is appropriate to its audience, purpose and topic

Weighting of AOs


*If you teach the WJEC course, you’ll know that investigations are marked holistically with a single mark out of 40 thus this AO distribution is notional only.


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