At the third meeting of the Linguistics Journal Club, we will delve into the recent very hotly debated issue about the reliability of data in syntax/semantics research. On the one side of the debate, we find Gibson et al. who are very pessimistic about the value and reliability of the data traditionally used in syntax/semantics. On the other side, we have Sprouse et al. who are more optimistic about the reliability of these traditional kinds of data.
Jon Brennan, who is more familiar with the debate than most of us, suggested the three papers listed below as readings for our meeting. (All of them are available either for free on the web, or through Mirlyn. You can also ask Andries Coetzee for electronic copies.) Don't let the number 3 scare you off. Two of them are short "letters to the editor". The third is a paper with only 21 pages of text (the rest is all appendixes etc.).
- Gibson, E. and Fedorenko, E. (2010). Weak quantitative standards in linguistics research. Trends Cogn Sci, 14(6):233–4; discussion 234–5. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tics.2010.03.005
- Sprouse, J., Schutze, C., and Almeida, D. (2011). Assessing the reliability of journal data in syntax: Linguistic inquiry 2001-2010. Ms., Irvine. http://ling.auf.net/lingbuzz/001352
- Gibson, E., Piantadosi, S. T., and Fedorenko, E. (2012). Quantitative methods in syntax/semantics research: A response to Sprouse and Almeida (2012). Language and Cognitive Processes, pages 1–12. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01690965.2012.704385