I don’t talk like that! Research methods and ethics for natural language interaction

Language is a highly complex and socially constructed phenomenon. We use language and our voices to indicate identity, group membership, emotion, and to create closeness/distance, among other things. Language use and voice can change based on factors such as gender, age, region/location, or disability. This intense personal connection to language means that there are particular ethical and sensitivity considerations to researching natural language for the digital space. Not only do people have very strong opinions about language, they often say the exact opposite of what they do. It can be incredibly difficult to get natural language samples, especially in a research setting. I will teach you how to conduct ethical research around natural language, give guidance on how to get natural language samples, and how to get impactful results from your research by explaining how and when to use quantitative vs. qualitative methods and the considerations for data analysis.

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