The development of impact from our research is central to our strategy. Through pursuing our objective of developing a research base in applied linguistics, we have established partnerships and/or collaborated with a range of private companies and public organisations in order to ensure that our research reaches those who will benefit from it.
Unit of Assessment 26 selected two impact case studies for the REF2021 submission, both of which demonstrate the value of linguistics outside of academia and use research in the discipline to tackle real-world problems. Examples of impact included in the case studies are the creation of the first popular print magazine in the world to engage the public with research in linguistics and employing corpus linguistic techniques to create improve access and user-friendliness of Hansard data.
The following impact case studies have been entered for the REF2021 submission. Find out more below.
Hansard, the quasi-verbatim record of parliament, has been available online since 1997 but until the advent of the Hansard at Huddersfield project in 2018, its searchability was limited and the user-friendliness of its interface low. Researchers at the University of Huddersfield employed corpus linguistic techniques to create an entirely new web-based interface, known as Hansard at Huddersfield, for exploring the database.
This is a user-friendly interface with a range of search functions and visualisations. It provides Hansard users (from students to parliamentary researchers) with an improved method of exploring political decision-making. Hansard at Huddersfield has changed the way in which the producers of Hansard perceive their data; influenced plans for Hansard’s electronic future being made by the Parliamentary Digital Service; improved the way in which Hansard users access the data; and informed the work of a group planning new digital versions of parliamentary data outside the UK, in the Hellenic parliament of Greece.
Everyone uses language and, because of this, everyone has an opinion about language. But these opinions are often neither reliable nor evidence-based. This is because communication about language and linguistics has primarily been limited to the realm of academia and experts. This has left primary and secondary educators, students at all levels, and curious language users devoid of popular resources that demystify the discipline.
In 2012, researchers at the University of Huddersfield addressed this gap in the field by founding Babel: The Language Magazine. The first popular print magazine in the world to engage the public with research in linguistics, Babel has reached thousands of readers across six continents in 38 countries. Through Babel, the research has (i) improved the work of language teachers in 12 countries; (ii) helped students to develop their own knowledge through the provision of accessible material; (iii) built confidence and developed the professional profiles of winners of the Babel Young Writer’s Competition; (iv) empowered members of the public to discuss language from an evidence-based perspective; and (v) motivated several readers to take up formal study of linguistics.