Research Methods for Multimodal Communication and Discourse Analyses

Convener: Dr Anna Pleshakova & Dr Xavier Laurent

Post-graduate Students and Researchers working in the fields of social sciences and humanities are invited to participate in the course:

“Research Methods for Multimodal Communication and Discourse Analyses”


The course will consist of 4 two-hour sessions, conducted by Professor Francis Steen (Communication Studies, UCLA, USA), Professor Mark Turner (Cognitive Science, CWRU, USA), Dr Anna Pleshakova (School of Interdisciplinary Area Studies, U of Oxford) and Dr Xavier Laurent (IT Services, U of Oxford). The course sessions will run on Wednesdays (5.15-7.15pm) in Weeks 1-4 of Trinity Term 2017, in the IT Services Building, 13 Banbury Rd.


Please email Dr Xavier Laurent ( to register for the course. The registration deadline is the 13th of April.

The course is free, and there is no registration fee. The course places are limited to 15 participants and will be allocated on a ‘first come, first served’ basis.

Once registered, the participants will be added to the course’s Weblearn site, thereby getting access to the course materials as well as the Red Hen Lab’s datasets.


Using Red Hen Lab ( as a platform, the course will offer training in new methods suitable for media and political communication and discourse analyses. Our approach to training combines media analysis, computational analysis and cognitive (linguistic) analysis, focusing on English and Russian language media data. The course will introduce and offer training in a variety of available open-access computer tools for tagging text and video (e.g. natural language processing for semantic and syntactic levels; tagging in Elan), tools for frame detection, metaphor detection, sentiment detection, among others; i.e. the tools used by Red Hen Lab to create combined pipelines for manual, semi-automatic, and automatic analyses of large media datasets.


Brief Outline of the Teaching Module

Session 1 (2 hours): Red Hen Lab key research projects/methods, Datasets, and Search Engines; Edge Search Engine and Edge 2 Search Engine

Session 2 (2 hours) Text Tagging: NLP tools, suitable for more advanced communication and discourse analyses and FrameNet type tools

Session 3 (2 hours) Video Tagging and Multimodal Tagging: Introduction to video tagging tools; Video tagging with ELAN

Session 4 (2 hours) Multimodal Statistical Analysis with R;

Using Red Hen Lab Datasets for Multimodal Viewpoint Construction Analysis of Media 

Cognitive Approach to Media Analysis: Viewpoint Blending Analysis and Blended Joint Attention Analysis


Session Delivery Mode

Each session will offer a brief overview of the topic it is devoted to, plus basic explanations and practical assignments. Sessions will be delivered in a very hands-on mode, to ensure that students obtain a good understanding of the tools and methodology involved in tagging big multimodal datasets in their relation to the challenges of their areas of research.



(see more at

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