Article published In:International Journal of Corpus Linguistics: Online-First Articles
Concordancing for CADS
Practical challenges and theoretical implications
Concordance analysis is widely recognised as one of the main techniques in a corpus linguist’s toolkit. However, despite a growing body of work critically exploring previously unquestioned mainstays of corpus methods (Mautner, 2015; Taylor & Marchi, 2018), this has not focused on concordance analysis specifically. In this paper, we aim to discuss issues that researchers may encounter when interpreting concordances. We begin in Step One with a cursory examination of 800 concordance lines in order to identify potential issues. In Step Two, we assess the distribution of those issues in a reduced sample of 200. As a result, we identify eight interpretability issues: noise in the corpus, non-standard syntax, unclear referring expressions, unclear quotation source attribution, technical terms/jargon, acronyms/initialisms, unspecific co-text, and lines unrelated to the research question. After reflecting on practical challenges, we discuss the epistemological implications of removing concordance lines uncritically and suggest ten recommendations for future work.
Keywords: concordancing, concordance analysis, corpus-assisted discourse studies, epistemology, interpretability
- 2.Analysing concordances
- 2.1The concordance line: A useful artefact
- 2.2Reflections on procedure
- 2.3Types of concordance analysis
- 3.Our research design
- 4.1Step One: Cursory examination of 800 concordance lines
- 4.2Step Two: Categorising interpretability issues
- 5.Epistemological implications
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Published online: 27 July 2023
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