Event Information:

  • Thu

    UCREL Corpus Research Seminar: Corpus methods and a questionnaire for the diagnosis of pain symptoms

    2:00 pmLancaster University, FASS Meeting Room 3

    Presenter: Elena Semino (LAEL, Lancaster University) 

    This talk arises from a collaboration with a consultant at the Eastman Dental Hospital in London who specialises in the diagnosis of chronic facial pain. One of the tools that are used for the diagnosis of chronic pain generally, and facial pain in particular, is the McGill Pain Questionnaire (MPQ). The MPQ includes 78 one-word descriptors (e.g. 'sharp', 'hot', 'nauseating'), arranged into 20 semantically-related groups. It is widely used in order to assess both the quality and intensity of patients' pain, with the ultimate goal of arriving at diagnosis and effective treatment or management. While the use of the MPQ is well-established, there are also problems with it, which are partly due to the choice of linguistic descriptors and the ways in which they are grouped. I will present the results of preliminary corpus-based analyses I have carried out in order to investigate various aspects of variation in the MPQ that might interfere with its effectiveness in clinical contexts. I will also share some of the experiences I have had in communicating my findings with health professionals. I will seek advice from the audience of the best ways of taking this work forward using corpus linguistic methods.