Photo by Sue Byford, FreeImages

I was a research consultant in corpus linguistics on the 'Donkey Discourse' project, which ran at the Donkey Sanctuary in Sidmouth, Devon in 2020.

The aim of the project was to investigate the ways in which language shapes representations of donkeys in British culture and the associated implications for donkey welfare.

The study was based in corpus linguistics, which involves gathering a database of ‘real-world’ language called a ‘corpus’ and using statistical software to identify patterns in language use.


I examined the representation of donkeys across a range of different text types, including social media, news, academic articles, and language produced by animal welfare organisations.  I also ran online focus groups in collaboration with researchers at The Donkey Sanctuary to gain feedback from the public about donkeys and their roles in contemporary society.

The results from the corpus linguistic analysis were then examined qualitatively using techniques from the field of ‘discourse analysis’ to answer The Donkey Sanctuary’s research questions about the roles of donkeys in contemporary British culture and implications for donkey welfare. 



Papers reporting the findings of this study have been submitted and are under review.

I presented a small part of this research at the 29th International Society for Anthrozoology Annual Conference, 2020.

I presented the main findings at The Corpus Linguistics 2021 conference in Limerick in July.


Check back for updates on this project, as well as details about upcoming talks and papers.


Updates on new projects coming soon.

In the meantime, if your organisation has an interest in understanding public perceptions of any issue, please contact me to arrange an informal chat about any research ideas or questions you have, and I'll be happy to discuss what a linguistic approach can offer.