Professor Alice Deignan contributes to new research project on vaccination discourse

Congratulations to Professor Alice Deignan from the Centre for Language Education and Research who is a Co-Investigator on a new £1 million project led by Lancaster University.

The project aims to achieve a better understanding of how the public view vaccinations. Funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), the project is called ‘Questioning Vaccination Discourse’ (or Quo VaDis – Latin for ‘Where are you going?’).

Using the latest techniques for large-scale corpus-aided discourse analysis, researchers will investigate how the public speak and write about vaccinations, including future Covid-19 vaccines, in social media discussions in English, UK Parliamentary debates and UK national press reports. The goal is to arrive at a better understanding of pro- and anti-vaccination views, as well as undecided views, which will inform future public health campaigns.

The research will be carried out by an interdisciplinary team consisting of linguists (Professor Elena Semino, Dr Claire Hardaker, Dr Vaclav Brezina and William Dance), a virologist (Dr Derek Gatherer) and a policy expert (Professor Robert Geyer) from Lancaster University, in collaboration with linguists from University College London (Dr Zsófia Demjén) and Leeds University (Professor Alice Deignan). The team will work with three main project partners: Public Health England, the Department of Health and Social Care and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport.

Professor Deignan will contribute to the areas of the analysis that involve perceptions of science generally, and discussions of current or hypothetical policies concerning education and vaccination.