I have been wanting to do research looking at actual keystrokes in spontaneous language production for several years. I was blocked by IT security issues until last year when I discovered InputLog, a tool developed by researchers for researchers that that logs keyboard and mouse input. Over this academic year (2009 – 2010), I have been collecting data with the very helpful participation of some of our students who have been willing to let me record their keystrokes during chats. I have been collaborating with my colleague Dr Michelle Aldridge on the analysis and we will be presenting our initial results at the 3rd UK Cognitive Linguistics Conference in July, 2010. The paper is entitled Light a tote bag: Insights into electronic language production through keystroke logging (see abstract here).
Recently I discovered that Dr Mick O’Donnell was working on using keystroke logging in his own research and after some discussion we decided to collaborate. I applied for funding through the Cardiff University International Collaboration Award for early stage researchers to fund travel so that we could collaborate face to face. Luckily I was successful so we should be in a position to move this research forward through the next academic year (2010 – 2011). We will be exploring the ways in which we can study dynamic text using keystroke logging software and Mick’s UAM CorpusTool.
I’m also working on a larger proposal – something that will continue over an extended period. The long-term project will hopefully include more people who are interested and willing to work on this. Ideally we will get a small team working together on setting up the full version of the project. It’ll be great to see my ideas finally getting tested.
It’s very exciting – watch this space!