CASS Projects

Overview of Current Projects

Corpus Approaches to Health(care) Communication: Our core ESRC-funded research programme extends the facilitative and transformative power of corpus methods to the study of health (care) communication. We are currently working on lived experiences of anxiety, psychosis and voice-hearing, representations of obesity in the news, English language assessment and training for healthcare professionals and patients’ feedback on NHS cancer services.

The British National Corpus (2014): The British National Corpus 2014 is a major project led by Lancaster University to create a 100 million word corpus (a large collection of ‘real life’ language) of modern-day British English.

Trinity Lancaster Corpus (TLC): This project is a collaboration between CASS and Trinity College London, a major international exam board. The aim of the project is to create a large corpus of learner (and examiner) speech which will be used in a wide range of research contexts including Second Language Acquisition, language testing, L2 pedagogy and material development etc.

British National Corpus: SDA: This ESRC-funded project will focus on secondary data analysis (SDA) of the spoken part of the British National Corpus (BNC).

Discourses of Islam: This reseach project is funded by the Aziz Foundation. The project aims to extend and expand previous work on this topic to uncover the representation of Islam in the press from 1998 to present day, tracking shifts over time and comparing the representation across local and national newspapers. This research will also be examining ‘below-the-line’ reader comments of particular news articles to not only analyse how readers respond to postive and negative framings of Islam, but also to observe societal discussions of Islam in order to assess the effects of constructive journalism. Finally, we aim to identify and describe the major communicative styles of tweets on Islam using Multi-Dimensional Analysis.

SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowship: The global reach of the International Baccalaureate (IB) and its implications for education policy. This project uses corpus-based critical discourse analysis to explore the influence of the IB on national and provincial/state publicly-funded education systems around the world. As a key player in the global education industry, the IB plays an important, yet often hidden, role in terms of education policy and decision-making.

Questioning Vaccination Discourse (Quo VaDis): A Corpus-based Study

Vaccine hesitancy – one of the World Health Organisation’s top 10 global health challenges even prior to the Covid-19 pandemic – is often a consequence of views and attitudes that are formed and exchanged through discourse, for example by reading the news, listening to politicians and interacting on social media. The ESRC-funded ‘Quo VaDis’ project employs corpus linguistic methods to study systematically the ways in which vaccinations are discussed, both currently and historically, in the UK press, UK parliamentary debates, and social media (Twitter, reddit and Mumsnet). The goal is to arrive at a better understanding of pro- and anti-vaccination views, as well as undecided views, and to use the findings to inform future public health campaigns about vaccinations, in collaboration with public health agencies. For more information: Twitter: @vaccine_project

Research on communication during the Covid-19 pandemic:

  • Covid-19 and the International Baccalaureate  (see also above)
  • The effect of Covid-19 on press representations of Islam and Muslims
  • Metaphors  in public-health communication about Covid-19
  • Face masks and face coverings in the UK press: Scottish vs. national reporting.

Overview of Past Projects

Big data media analysis and the representation of urban violence in Brazil: This collaborative project between UK and Brazilian scholars will investigate the linguistic representation of urban violence in Brazil through comparative analysis, making it possible to investigate the relationships between official statistics about urban violence, media representations and citizens’ views.

Changing Climates: A corpus-based investigation of discourses around global warming, energy and mobilities in Brazil and Britain.

Comparable and Parallel Corpus Approaches to the Third Code: A study of the common linguistic and textual features of translations that combines the comparable corpus approach and the parallel corpus approach to language studies on the basis of sizable corpora of authentic language use in English and Chinese.

Discourse of Online Misogyny (DOOM): A project focussed on understanding online misogynistic threats, who makes them, how and why, but also on advancing research into threatening online behaviour by developing methods for revealing meaningful trends in large collections of online data.

Distressed Communities: Perception and Reality: This project will apply thematic geo-referencing to a broad-coverage UK press corpus, mapping popularly-perceived associations between social issues and different communities/regions/localities, to investigate how far attitudes match the reality found in statistical datasets.

ESRC Postdoctoral Fellowship: The psychological validity of non-adjacent collocations: Evidence from event-related brain potentials. This project uses the event-related potential (ERP) technique of analysing brainwave data to investigate the processing of collocational and non-collocational sequences.

Hate SpeechThis project will take a more measured approach than that evident in the press by looking at the use of hate speech from a linguistic perspective, bringing together work in law and criminology in a project in which corpus linguists can inform the debate.

Language Development, Disorders, and Environment: This project will use large-scale corpus methods to investigate how features of the language environment influence the linguistic and social skills of typically and atypically developing populations of children.

Newspapers, Poverty and Long-term Change: We will trace how historical discourses on poverty have changed, and how they have stayed the same, from 1473-1900, and compare the results of our corpus-based analysis against the findings of earlier research based on close-reading methods.

NHS Project: Beyond the Checkbox: The purpose of this ESRC-funded Knowledge Exchange project is to help the National Health Service better understand the results of patient feedback so that they can improve their services.

Religion, Citizenship and Integration: This is an investigation of interviews with immigrants, building on a Home Office funded project entitled ‘What Works’ which looks at the role of religion in the lives of well-integrated immigrants.

Spoken BNC2014: This project is a collaboration between CASS and Cambridge University Press. Together, we are collecting samples of real-life, informal, spoken interactions between speakers of British English from across the United Kingdom.

UKRI Innovation Fellowship: Intelligent Language Processing for Understanding Financial Text

Understanding Corporate Communications: A comprehensive analysis of the form, content and impact of communications between large, publicly traded corporations and their key stakeholder groups concerning the following three key aspects of corporate governance.

Understanding the discourse-semantic shift towards risk – A corpus sociologyThis project contributes to understanding the social shift towards risk in a historical perspective on the basis of The Times corpus (1785-2009).

Affiliated Projects

Additional projects will be listed here as they are adopted by the ESRC Centre for Corpus Approaches to Social Sciences.