The goal of this project is to give you hands-on experience of identifying patterns in texts with the aid of digital tools and help you understand better the strengths and limits of “distant reading.”

Choose two or more corpora. Each corpora may contain one or more texts of considerable length. Create one or more word clouds for each corpus in Voyant. Modify your word clouds as necessary, and explore with the aid of other tools provided in Voyant toolbox. What interpretations can you develop about these texts with the help of Voyant? Share your findings with the class in a short presentation, and report them in a short essay.

The presentation should be 3- to 5-minute long. The essay is expected to be 3 pages in length, typed in 12-point Times New Roman font, double-spaced, and proofread for errors of grammar and spelling. Submit your essay as a Microsoft Word document. Include citations in Chicago/Turabian format. In the opening paragraph of your essay, underline your thesis statement. In all the other paragraphs, except the last paragraph, underline your topic sentence. Essays which do not follow these instructions may be returned for revision.

For this project, you may, but are not required to, choose texts from those listed in the Datasets page of the course website.

Important Dates:

  • September 2: Visualization PowerPoint due before class. Prepare a PowerPoint for your presentation and submit it to the online drop box on Moodle by 11 a.m. Give a short presentation reporting your visualization and findings in class.
  • September 5: First draft due before class. Submit your draft to the online drop box on Moodle by 11 a.m.
  • September 9: Writing workshop during class time.
  • September 16: Second draft due before class. Submit your draft self-assessment to the online drop box on Moodle by 11 a.m., and bring printed copies of your first and second drafts and your self-assessment to class for peer review. Peer review workshop during class time. (No need to submit your second draft to me.)
  • September 19: Final draft due. Submit your draft to the online drop box on Moodle by 11 a.m.