The ‘Interdisciplinary Research Discourse’ project held its second seminar at the University of Birmingham on 29th June. At the seminar, the results of various linguistic analyses, including Multi-Dimensional Analysis, Topic Modelling, and Phraseological Profiling, were presented. The aim of these analyses was to investigate the discourse of the interdisciplinary journal Global Environmental Change, along with 10 other journals dealing with environmental and related issues in the physical and social sciences. In addition, the researchers also interviewed and surveyed writers, reviewers and editors of the journal, the results of which were also presented at the seminar. The two-year project was funded by the ESRC and was supported by Elsevier publishers, who provided a corpus of the journal articles and assisted with conducting the survey and citation analysis.
Centre for Corpus Research, University of Birmingham
29 June 2015
We are pleased to announce the final Birmingham Interdisciplinary Research Discourse Seminar (BIRDS) which will be held at the University of Birmingham on 29th June 2015. This seminar builds upon on the discussions from the interim seminar, held on 22nd September 2014, and presents the findings of the two-year ESRC funded project [ES/K007300/1] ‘Investigating Interdisciplinary Research Discourse: the case of Global Environmental Change’.
The seminar will present the results of our analyses of the linguistic features of research articles published in disciplinary and interdisciplinary journals, as well as our investigations of how interdisciplinary discourse is perceived by editors, reviewers and researchers.
These findings will be of special interest to:
- the UK research councils who advise on and implement government policy in relation to research funding;
- people involved in the publication of interdisciplinary research output, directly and indirectly;
- those involved in conducting or managing interdisciplinary research within academia and in commercial research centres; and
- teachers of Study Skills and English for Academic Purposes (EAP).
The seminar will be held from 10.00 to 4.30 on 29th June 2015 at the Nicolson Building at Winterbourne House, 58 Edgbaston Park Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2RT. The attendance is by invitation only and the travel expenses, up to one hundred pounds per person, and the seminar costs are free to invited participants. However, if you belong to any of the above listed interest groups and would like to attend the seminar, please let us know.
Paper labelling was an exercise we categorised papers published in the journal of Global Environmental Change (GEC) in order to gain further insights into the types of papers that were published in the journal and to aid the interpretation of other analyses we employed. The papers were labelled, or categorised, in a bottom-up approach in which categories were established by reading a number of papers from the journal.
Initially we developed a system with seven categories, but these proved either too specific or too closely related, resulting in poor agreement when we categorised papers independently. Thus the number of categories was reduced and their description broadened. The final set included four categories: 1) Empirical, 2) Policy discussion, 3) Research agenda and Research Framework and 4) Other papers. Using this framework we have achieved a reasonable agreement rate (76.6%) between two researchers. Continue Reading
Topic modelling is a machine learning technique that identifies topics in a given corpus. We assume that a document consists of multiple topics with varying probability, and topic modelling estimates the distribution of topic probability in each document. From a topic model, we can extract keywords of each topic, as well as the distribution of topics in each document.
We ran topic modelling on our corpus consisting of 11 journals. The basic unit of the analysis was paragraph, and multiple paragraphs constituted a text that topic models were built from. We targeted paragraphs and not papers because each paper can consist of multiple topics, and it would be interesting to investigate the transition of topics within papers. Continue Reading
In order to investigate what linguistic features distinguish between monodisciplinary and interdisciplinary journal discourses, we employed Biber’s (1988) multidimensional (MD) analysis. This well-known technique in corpus linguistics investigates quantitative correlations between language features in texts and discloses functional similarities and differences between corpora. The corpus used for this study consists of all the research papers published in 11 journals over 10 years, which were provided by our partners, Elsevier publishers. Continue Reading