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From Words to Numbers: A Generalized and Linguistics-Based Coding Procedure for Collecting Textual Data

Roberto Franzosi
Sociological Methodology
Vol. 19 (1989), pp. 263-298
DOI: 10.2307/270955
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/270955
Page Count: 36
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From Words to Numbers: A Generalized and Linguistics-Based Coding Procedure for Collecting Textual Data
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Abstract

In this paper, I describe a new, powerful technique for coding data from textual sources, a technique based on concepts developed in the field of linguistics, particularly on the concept of semantic text grammar. I develop a grammar of data collection from the simple linguistic canonical structure noun phrase/verb phrase, namely, subject/action/object and their modifiers. I show that the grammar allows researchers to collect richer and more flexible data than more traditional coding schemes. In particular, the grammar produces coded output that, to a large extent, preserves both the syntax and the lexicon of the source material. Furthermore, the grammar makes the process of data collection independent of any prior specification of hypotheses, because virtually all relevant information provided by the sources can be easily coded. Finally, the grammar represents a general class of coding schemes. A set of well-known schemes used to analyze textual material can be subsumed under the grammar.

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