The challenge of constructing a reliable word list: An exploratory corpus-based analysis of lexical variability in introductory Psychology textbooks

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This study highlights the methodological challenges inherent in reliably capturing meaningful sets of vocabulary for instructional focus. An analysis of a 3.1 million-word corpus of introductory psychology textbooks suggests that, while comparatively large, and, thus, presumably representative of the lexical variability in the target domain, this corpus was unable to capture a stable list of “important” words. Findings highlight an important issue requiring further investigation in corpus-based vocabulary research: the extent to which corpora – and the word lists based on them – reliably represent the lexical variability of their target domains. Keywords: Corpus representativeness; lexical diversity; word list reliability


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