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Roads to Research - Gilbert Wilkes

Event Date and Time: 
Wed, 11/09/2011 - 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Royal Roads University Centre for Dialogue (LIC 407)

Please join School of Communication and Culture’s Gilbert Wilkes for his Roads to Research presentation entitled: Using computer tools to perform textual analysis, 2 examples 


Gil will describe 2 studies he is working on where he uses concordancer software to perform critical interpretative tasks based on word frequences, and collocations among key terms or themes. One is an analysis of U.S. President Obama's construction of the term "CEO" based on a sample in the form of an archive (or corpus, as in corpus linguistics) that includes most of his speeches delivered from between 2005 and 2009 and available publicly. The U.S. President in his speeches since he took office often singles out the figure of the CEO. So what can we learn based on how the term "CEO" consistently appears in his remarks? What terms or themes consistently collocate with the term CEO, and what how is the term realized grammatically--is it e.g. consistently thematized as a grammatical subject which could connote agency? Or are CEOs passive subjects acted upon by other agents or agencies? Is the term "CEO" consistently grouped with other terms? 


The other study is analysis of a discussion that obtained among a sample of blog posts about the recently announced changes to the popular social media platform, Facebook. In this study Gil developed a values-profile based on the term "sharing", "share", or "shared", a term of contention in the discussion over Zuckerberg's proposed changes. He used the popular aggregator to identify the most active discussions on the topic; the text from these publicly available sources became the corpus for this study. The questions raised for this study are similar: What does the term "sharing" mean based on how it is used, and the terms that are used with it, in the course of the discussion? But additionally he asks what these findings can predict about the development of Facebook as a service? 


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