Summer progress

A lot has happened since my last update. This spring semester was a bit disjointed, but I finished collecting eye-tracking data from my general population sample and presented at CUNY2018. I got a lot of good feedback and enjoyed spending time with my colleagues in the US.

Ethics of researching gender as a syntactician

This summer, I’ve submitted a few papers, though I haven’t heard back on two of them yet. Here’s the LingBuzz page for the preprint of Syntactic and cognitive issues in investigating gendered coreference. This is a squib on how to frame human gender going forward for research that concerns grammatical and human gender, with an eye to domain-general cognition. In particular, I think it’s crucial that work on this area acknowledge the conceptual overlaps between grammar, cultural categories, biology, and social sensitivity and justice. It can be easy for syntacticians and psycholinguists to focus on syntactic features while ignoring how our discussions of these features affects transgender, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming people. Even if it’s entirely unintentional, it creates a hostile environment for colleagues and members of the wider community. We’re better than that, but to move forward I believe a framework for ethical investigation must be made explicit.

See also: Vincent, Benjamin William. (2018). Studying trans: recommendations for ethical recruitment and collaboration with transgender participants in academic research, Psychology & Sexuality, 9:2, 102-116, DOI: 10.1080/19419899.2018.1434558

Teaching R, methods, and analysis

The other main project I’ve been working on is integrating updated quantitative analysis into the postgraduate curriculum here at Newcastle and in the general linguistics community.

  • In March, I led a workshop with Nick Riches on Internet Methods for conducting experiments, which touched on MTurk, Ibex Farm, Inquisit, and other similar tools.
  • In June, Jalal Al-Tamimi, Danielle Turton, Nick Riches and I organised and implemented a two-day postgraduate workshop on using R for analysis, including tidyverse, text mining, and linear regression. (Adventures in R)
  • In September and October, I will be hosting a series of tutorials (RfficeHours) geared to familiarising staff with R so they can support their students and conduct their own analyses. I intend on hosting RfficeHours throughout the year, in order to keep staff fresh and help boost support for R at the School and Faculty level as we’re also providing postgraduate support through Faculty training workshops.
  • Next year, in January, I will be running a five-day mini-course on experimental syntax methodology and analysis in R at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, invited by Àngel Gallego. Materials for this mini-course will be made available in January.