This experiment is part of a research project that is being carried out by Dr Anja Belz, Brighton University and Dr Sebastian Varges, Trento University. Our general aim in this research project is to investigate the factors that influence the way people refer to the main subject of a short text.
Initially, we're investigating only simple main subject references (MSRs). In this experiment we ask subjects to select such MSRs in the context of a simple encyclopaedic text. The idea is to investigate to what extent people agree when choosing references. The experiment is designed as a multiple choice task, as in this example:
|(b. 1951) is an English author.|
|was born in York, and studied English Literature at the University of Dundee, gaining Masters Degree in 1974. During final year of this course, was married for the first time. The marriage lasted only two years, but produced first daughter, Eve, who was born in 1975. subsequently studied for a doctorate in American Literature which failed at the viva stage. After leaving university, took on a variety of miscellaneous jobs from home help to legal secretary and teacher. lived in Whitby, Yorkshire for a time, but now lives in Edinburgh.|
|Display one possible solution.|
Please note that this is the 'testdrive' site. The real experiment is for native speakers of English only. If you are a native speaker of English, and would like to take part in the experiment, please go to this webpage where you can do the actual experiment.
To start the testdrive, please click on the start button below. You will then be presented with a series of short texts, similar to the above. The task is to read each text from start to finish and to select one of the options provided for each reference. We would like you to select the option that feels best to you, i.e. the option that you yourself would choose if you were writing the text. There are no 'right' or 'wrong' answers.
Sometimes a reference can be left out altogether, resulting in a 'null reference'. In order to be able to include this possibility in the multiple choice lists, we represent null references with an underscore character (_).
We have designed the experiment so that you can do as many of these as you like. You can stop and restart at any time.
Please note that you may need to select UTF-8 character encoding in your browser options for all of the characters to display properly. You will still be able to do the experiment if you don't have a UTF-8 capable browser, but some of the characters may look odd.
If you have any questions please contact Dr Anja Belz at this address: asb (at) itri.brighton.ac.uk.