Word Tree Tool Assignment Sequence

Developed by Jason M. Payton, Sam Houston State University

Jason M. Payton will be joining the faculty of the Department of English at the University of Georgia in the fall of 2018.

This assignment sequence was developed by Jason M. Payton for an early American literature course at Sam Houston State University. For a description of the assignment’s contexts, goals, and outcomes, please see the accompanying report.

Step One: Students will read reviews of E. Benger’s works and write a short synopsis (2 double-spaced pages) of major findings.

Step Two: Students will chose one word or phrase to study using the "allWWiR" text file and the Word Tree tool.

Step Three: Students will write a 500-word analysis of their findings. Analyses will include:

  1. a statement about why you chose your search term,
  2. what words or phrases it seems to be connected to within the archive (in forward and reverse modes),
  3. an outline of your term’s most prominent meanings during the time of the reviews’ writing using the OED, and
  4. what you learned about gender and authorship from this exercise.

Step Four: Students will deepen their analysis of their term’s use in the database by examining 3–5 specific reviews associated with it in the Word Tree tool, focusing on how context shapes their understanding of its function. Students will write a 500-word analysis of their contextualized readings of their term’s use in the WWiR archive and will reflect on how their understanding of their term’s significance changed as a result of using the Word Tree tool.