Investigating effects of criterial consistency, the diversity dimension, and threshold variation in formulaic language research
Extending the methodological considerations of O’Donnell et al. (2013)
O’Donnell et al. (2013) considered four measures of formulaicity and reported that they produced different results concerning the effects of expertise and first/second language status on formulaic sequence usage in academic writing. The current study explores several additional methodological issues using the same dataset from O’Donnell et al. (2013). We first motivate the need for criterial consistency and investigate whether frequency- and association-based measures yield different results when they are both obtained using corpus-internal criteria. The informativeness of the diversity dimension of formulaic sequence use is then gauged by comparing the results of phrase-frame type-token ratio against those of other measures. Finally, we profile formulaic sequence distribution across quartiles of different measures to assess the effect of variable measure thresholds. Our findings highlight the criticality of issues of criterial consistency, formulaic sequence diversity, and threshold variation in formulaic language research.