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Doing well by talking good? A topic modelling-assisted discourse study of corporate social responsibility

Jaworska, S. ORCID: and Nanda, A. (2018) Doing well by talking good? A topic modelling-assisted discourse study of corporate social responsibility. Applied Linguistics, 39 (3). pp. 373-399. ISSN 1477-450X

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1093/applin/amw014


Using the novel technique of topic modelling, this paper examines thematic patterns and their changes over time in a large corpus of corporate social responsibility (CSR) reports produced in the oil sector. Whereas previous research on corporate communications has been small-scale or interested in selected lexical aspects and thematic categories identified ex ante, our approach allows for thematic patterns to emerge from the data. The analysis reveals a number of major trends and topic shifts pointing to changing practices of CSR. Nowadays ‘people’, ‘communities’ and ‘rights’ seem to be given more prominence, whereas ‘environmental protection’ appears to be less relevant. Using more established corpus-based methods, we subsequently explore two top phrases - ‘human rights’ and ‘climate change’ that were identified as representative of the shifting thematic patterns. Our approach strikes a balance between the purely quantitative and qualitative methodologies and offers applied linguists new ways of exploring discourse in large collections of texts.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Literature and Languages > English Language and Applied Linguistics
Arts, Humanities and Social Science > Language Text and Power
ID Code:64338
Uncontrolled Keywords:topic-modelling, corporate social responsibility, discourse, human rights, climate change, corpus linguistics, corpora, collocations
Publisher:Oxford Journals


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