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How to justify a choice of words for a qualitative paper

asked 2016-06-15 05:56:26 -0400

Pilot gravatar image

Hello there,

Unfortunately, I am not quite sure whether this is the right place to pose this kind of question. Hoping not to bother anyone with it, I shall try to explain my problem nonetheless; after all, it would be a shame to leave this stone untouched, as it were.

I am currently writing my final thesis about object complementation in EModE. I have determined (more or less haphazardly) to focus on "verbs of intellectual state" (e.g. consider, believe, deem, etc.), as Quirk refers to them in CGEL. The thing is, that his list of verbs is not exhaustive (it can hardly be) and I should like to add some which I believe belong to this group, too, e.g. some of those listed in the works of Visser (e.g. count, account, regard). The problem is that I do not really know how to justify my choice of words. They are, of course, all semantically related. But this is just my (personal, non-native-speaker) opinion. My professor told me to check the frequencies of the verbs in this group. But how am I to do so? If I count them in Shakespears works (I do not (yet) have access to a non-poetic corpus), there are about 283 tokens of "believe" and about 75 of "consider" - now, what can I learn from that? And how would this have an influence on my choice of words?

I hope there is someone who can help me and thank you all in advance for your understanding. Kind regards, Pilot

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answered 2016-07-12 03:12:28 -0400

etc. gravatar image

Do you know about this site: http://corpus.byu.edu/ for corpora search? I think I would take your intuitive word list to a good thesaurus and see what it comes up with in addition, and then search the corpus for all of the results of that extended list, then choosing the 20 or so most frequent of those for your analysis. I think you can be pretty confident that you won't overlook a very common word if you go about it that way, and it should be methodically valid.

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Asked: 2016-06-15 05:56:26 -0400

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Last updated: Jun 15 '16