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Teaching computer-assisted text analysis: Approaches to learning new methodologies Open Access


Author or creator
Sinclair, Stéfan
Rockwell, Geoffrey
Additional contributors
Humanities--Technological Innovations--Study and Teaching (Higher)
Humanities--Computer Network Resources--Study and Teaching (Higher)
Humanities--Data Processing--Study and Teaching (Higher)
Humanities--Computer Network Resources
Humanities--Study and Teaching (Higher)
Humanities--Methodology--Study and Teaching (Higher)
Humanities--Technological Innovations
Humanities--Data Processing
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Book Chapter
Introduction: Using a computer to analyze a text intimidates many humanities students, but the reality is that text analysis is becoming a fundamental and naturalized part of how we operate in a digital society. Text analysis is what enables Google to compile and index tens of billions of web pages so that our search terms produce results; it is fundamental to building IBM’s Watson, a computer-system that was able to beat two of the top human Jeopardy! players of all time; it allows smartphone developers to build predictive texting capabilities; it also enables a humanist to study the relationship between Agatha Christie’s dementia and the richness of her vocabulary over the course of her writing career. Significant transformations of how we handle the written record are occurring as more and more of it is digitized and made available for computer analysis. Analytics are no longer an exotic preoccupation of digital humanists and computational linguists: humanities students need to understand automated methods if only because we are surrounded by their use—in everything from our email to the news. This chapter will therefore: Briefly describe what text analysis is; Make the case that analytics should be taught; Discuss how it can be integrated into humanities courses; Discuss recipes as a way of introducing students to text analysis; and Introduce the idea of notebooks for advanced students. Our goal is to start by making the case for teaching text analysis, then to provide ideas as to how it might be taught, and to end with reflections on advanced support in the form of notebooks—where the analysis becomes a form of research writing.
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Attribution-NonCommerical-NoDerivs 4.0 International

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Sinclair, S., and Rockwell, G. (2012). Teaching computer-assisted text analysis: Approaches to learning new methodologies. , (), 241-263.

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