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Qualitative Corpus Analysis

  1. Victoria Hasko

Published Online: 5 NOV 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781405198431.wbeal0974

The Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics

How to Cite

Hasko, V. 2012. Qualitative Corpus Analysis. The Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics. .

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 5 NOV 2012


Qualitative corpus analysis is a methodology for pursuing in-depth investigations of linguistic phenomena, as grounded in the context of authentic, communicative situations that are digitally stored as language corpora and made available for access, retrieval, and analysis via computer. Researchers using qualitative corpus analysis as the methodological basis for their investigations adopt an exploratory, inductive approach to empirically based study of how the meanings and functions of linguistic forms found in the corpus interact with diverse ecological characteristics of language used for communication (speaker age, gender, level of education, and socioeconomic background; place and time of a communicative event; relationship between interlocutors; speech modality; etc.). A common belief shared by all corpus linguists is that it is important to base linguistic investigations on “real data,” that is, actual instances of oral or written communication as opposed to contrived or “made-up” data. Unique goals of qualitative corpus analysis include facilitating computer-aided retrieval of authentic examples of the language phenomena under investigation, interpreting these empirical data in depth, and applying the ensuing insights to a broad range of intellectual explorations in language studies. This entry summarizes the evolution of the field, outlines the methodological foundations and principles of qualitative corpus analysis, and enumerates major areas of application of the methodology.


  • methods;
  • research methods in applied linguistics;
  • corpus