Experimental methods in discourse studies

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In this chapter, we discuss classic and recent experimental studies of discourse to give an overview of developments in research focus and methodological advancements within this field. The focus is on the fit of methods to research questions. We discuss research related to major questions from the field of discourse coherence, focusing on both relational and referential coherence: how do language users form a coherent representation of a discourse, how does this evolve during online processing, and how is the discourse structure signalled in the linguistic surface code?

Three types of research paradigms can be distinguished, providing information on different aspects of discourse: processing, representation, and analysis. Methods vary from free recall and comprehension questions for representation to methods like categorization and insertions tasks for analysis to methods that focus on online processing like eye-tracking-while reading and neurological methods such as ERP. We first discuss these methods in relation to questions in the field, after which we provide an easy-to-consult overview of methods in alphabetical order. Finally, we discuss recommendations for practice and future directions of research within the field of discourse.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Handbook of Experimental Linguistics
ISBN (Electronic)9781003392972
Publication statusPublished - 2023


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