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I have heard multiple stories via friends and student blogs that the final year of university, specifically carrying out a dissertation, is a gruelling experience. But for me, carrying out my dissertation with the help of my tutors and dissertation supervisor was a brilliant experience. In my final year, studying corpus linguistics was a godsend when it came to my dissertation. When I started the corpus linguistics module, I initially dismissed the topic. However, the more I attended the module, the deeper my interest grew.

One seminar solidified my decision to incorporate corpus methods into my dissertation. In this seminar, my tutor suggested that I could compare multiple texts against each other using corpus software, such as WordSmith and Wmatrix. This set my dissertation into motion. From the start of my third year I knew that I wanted to analyse Donald Trump’s and Hillary Clinton’s language during the 2016 presidential election, but my previous methodologies on how to approach the data had limited me due to the number of words each candidate had spoken during their campaigns: Trump had 57 campaign speeches (total of 168,929 words) and Clinton had 36 speeches (total of 117,684 words). This is where corpus linguistics became so useful. Using WordSmith, specifically the concordance, collocation and keywords features, allowed me to objectively investigate the linguistic features of both candidates.

In sum, I thoroughly enjoyed researching the language of both candidates and the entirety of my dissertation. In fact, I enjoyed the process of my dissertation so much that I have decided to go on to an MRes in English here at the University of Chester. An MRes course allows you to specialise in an area of your choosing. Therefore, this is perfect for me to conduct further research into the language of Trump using corpus methods. My tutors’ guidance along with my keen interest in corpus linguistics has fully prepared me for postgraduate study, and I cannot wait to get started!

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