Uses of corpus linguistics in education research: An adjustable lens

Sian Alsop, Virginia King, Genie Giaimo, Xiaoyu Xu

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

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In this chapter, we explore uses of corpus linguistics within higher education research. Corpus linguistic approaches enable examination of large bodies of language data based on computing power. These bodies of data, or corpora, facilitate investigation of the meaning of words in context. The semi-automated nature of such investigation helps researchers to identify and interpret language patterns that might otherwise be inaccessible through manual analysis. We illustrate potential uses of corpus linguistic approaches through four short case studies by higher education researchers, spanning educational contexts, disciplines and genres. These case studies are underpinned by discussion of the development of corpus linguistics as a field of investigation, including existing open corpora and corpus analysis tools. We give a flavour of how corpus linguistic techniques, in isolation or as part of a wider research approach, can be particularly helpful to higher education researchers who wish to investigate language data and its context.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTheory and Method in Higher Education Research
EditorsMalcolm Tight, Jeroen Huisman
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-80043-320-5
ISBN (Print)978-1-80043-321-2
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Publication series

NameTheory and Method in Higher Education Research
ISSN (Print)2056-3752


  • corpus linguistics
  • higher education
  • research
  • case studies
  • discourse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education

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