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  • Print publication year: 2014
  • Online publication date: June 2014

9 - The Corpus


In many Coh-Metrix text analysis studies, there is no section with the label “Method.” Instead, most Coh-Metrix text analysis papers tend to have two major sections that lie between the Introduction and the Results: These sections are descriptions of the corpus and the tool, respectively. The sections on the corpus and the tool largely serve the same purpose as traditional Method sections. That is, instead of describing the participants in the experiment and how the experiment was conducted, the papers discuss the texts in the corpus and the variables used from Coh-Metrix. Some Coh-Metrix corpus studies do use a “Method” header, which is often followed by subheaders for the description of the corpus, the tool, the variables, and so forth. The final choice for headers is up to the researcher, the professor, or the conference/journal guidelines. Whatever your headers, however, the next two major sections we have to consider are the corpus (i.e., the collection of texts we will use) and the tool, Coh-Metrix (what it is, what it does, why we’re using it, and how we’re using it). This chapter focuses on the first of those sections, the corpus.

In Chapter 8 we used the research question as our starting point for a Coh-Metrix project. We also mentioned that most researchers would argue that the starting point must be the theoretical framework. However, whether you start with a research question or with theory, you will very soon afterward need to be considering your corpus, and continue considering your corpus during most of the research process.