First catch your corpus : methodological challenges in constructing a thematic corpus

Sealey, Alison Jean and Pak, Christopher Adams (2018) First catch your corpus : methodological challenges in constructing a thematic corpus. Corpora, 13 (2). pp. 229-254. ISSN 1749-5032

[thumbnail of Sealey&Pak-Corpora-13-2]
PDF (Sealey&Pak-Corpora-13-2)
Sealey_Pak_Corpora_13_2_pdf.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial.

Download (313kB)


This paper describes the process by which we have constructed a corpus of heterogeneous texts about non-human animals. It aims to contribute both methodologically – in respect of the challenges of compiling a thematic corpus – and substantively – in relation to the identification of some features of discourse about animals. Having introduced the research project and its guiding questions, the article describes the principles of data selection and the procedures used in analysis. We highlight the methods we devised both to avoid the potential circularity associated with pre-determined search terms, and to overcome the limitations of a relatively small corpus containing a wide range of relevant vocabulary. We go on to report some initial findings on the most frequent animal naming terms and adjectives describing them, including a small case study of the adjectives ‘live’ and ‘dead’. The article concludes by indicating the ways in which the iterative methods we have employed are open to further extension, and points to some methodological and substantive implications of this enterprise.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Additional Information:
This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Edinburgh University Press in Corpora. The Version of Record is available online at:
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? psychology(all)linguistics and languagearts and humanities(all)language and linguistics ??
ID Code:
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
15 Feb 2017 09:14
Last Modified:
16 Jun 2024 23:51