Dr Fiona Douglas

Dr Fiona Douglas


I joined the University of Leeds in 2003. Before that, I was part of the original team that created the Scottish Corpus of Texts and Speech at the University of Glasgow. I gained my PhD from the University of Glasgow in 2001.


Research interests

My research interests straddle corpus linguistics, discourse analysis, and dialectology/sociolinguistics. Much of my work is corpus-based and predominantly lexical in focus, across a variety of text and discourse types. I am interested in the methodological issues that surround corpus design and building for non-standard language varieties. I research non-standard varieties of Scottish-English and English-English, and the link between language and identity. I have published on Scots in the language of newspapers, in the public sphere, and in lexicography. My monograph Scottish Newspapers, Language and Identity (Edinburgh University Press, 2009) investigates which Scottish words and phrases the papers use and asks to what extent the use of identifiably Scottish lexical features helps them maintain their distinctive Scottish identities and appeal to their readerships. I have also published on the opportunities presented by working in mutually beneficial partnerships with non-university partners and the general public.

Since coming to Leeds, my work has extended into the dialects of England, and I am currently working on Phase 1 of a Heritage Lottery Funded project - Dialect and Heritage: The State of the Nation in partnership with five folk-life/living museums from across the country and the Brotherton Library’s Special Collections, focusing on the Leeds Archive of Vernacular Culture (LAVC). The LAVC is a unique and nationally important collection, and includes all of the original materials from the world-famous Survey of English Dialects (SED) which was based at the University of Leeds, and visited 313 locations across England from the 1950s to the 1970s. It is still considered to be the most complete, influential and ground-breaking survey of the dialects of England, and was devised at the end of World War II to record and preserve the nation's dialects before they were changed forever by rapidly increasing social mobility and migration. The LAVC also contains materials from the former Institute of Dialect and Folk-Life Studies, also based at Leeds from 1964-1983. This project will marry these rich resources with parter museums' complementary and contemporaneous artefact and building collections, putting the LAVC back into the communities from which it was originally collected. We will also collect present-day dialect from museum visitors, local communities, and online, so will be able to compare language use past and present. The project combines academic research with knowledge exchange and public engagement activities.

Over the years, my work with museums has brought pedagogic research-led learning benefits for my students. Undergraduates on my Dialect and Heritage option module have the opportunity to work as mini-researchers on the project, undertaking individual research activities that feed into the project as a whole, with their work being showcased within the museum environment and/or online.

I am also interested in using digital humanities approaches in English Studies for both research and teaching. Over the years I have developed and worked with large-scale online corpora, databases, public-facing digital research resources, and also pedagogic tools. My 2009 University Teaching Fellowship led to the development, in conjunction with Allan Johnson, of a new multimedia resource - Studying and Researching English - which all students now take as a Level 1 module, and can also revisit as they progress through their studies.

I am interested in supervising postgraduates (both MA Res and PhD) who want to work in the following areas: corpus-based language research; non-standard varieties of English; media and political discourses.

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://ahc.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • PhD The role of lexis in Scottish Newspapers
  • MA English (Language and Literature)

Student education

I teach across the range on English Language modules within the School of English, and at all levels.

Current postgraduate research students

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://ahc.leeds.ac.uk/research-opportunities">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>