About this Webinar
13:00 - 14:00, Friday 26th April 2024

How is indecision about vaccinations expressed and responded to on parenting forums? What is the role of narratives and information in attempts at persuasion with regard to vaccinations? What do parents worry about when they talk about the side effects of vaccinations? Does it matter if people talk about a Covid ‘shot’ rather than a Covid ‘vaccine’? How can metaphors help in communication about vaccines?

This webinar will provide answers to these and other questions based on the findings of the ‘Questioning Vaccination Discourse’ project (Quo VaDis) – a collaboration between Lancaster University, Leeds University and University College London, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council. The project team will show how they combined computational and linguistic analyses to study communication about vaccinations on social media and to investigate the potential contribution of metaphors in addressing concerns about vaccinations.


  • Professor Elena Semino - Principal Investigator
  • Professor Alice Deignan - Co-Investigator
  • Dr Zsófia Demjén - Co-Investigator
  • Dr Claire Hardaker - Co-Investigator
  • Dr Tara Coltman-Patel - Senior Research Associate
  • William Dance - Senior Research Associate
Dr Tara Coltman-Patel

Dr Tara Coltman-Patel is a corpus-based discourse analyst and a Senior Research Associate within the Centre for Corpus Approaches to Social Sciences at Lancaster University. Her research focuses on health communication and discourses surrounding weight and obesity, with a specific focus on misinformation and discrimination. She is author of (Mis)Representing Weight and Obesity in the British Press (Springer, 2023).

William Dance

William Dance is a Senior Research Associate in the Department of Linguistics and English Language at Lancaster University, UK. His research explores the intersection of social media and deception by investigating the spread of online disinformation using mixed quantitative and qualitative approaches. He has previously worked as a Counter-Disinformation Policy Advisor at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and with the BBC's Digital Elections team to help shape policy and inform the public about online manipulation and disinformation.

Professor Alice Deignan

Alice Deignan is Professor of Applied Linguistics at the School of Education, University of Leeds. Her research interests are in metaphor, genre and register and pragmatics. She uses large-scale corpora to investigate issues in these areas, using analytical techniques developed from corpus lexicography. She is interested in the language of mainstream schooling, and the challenges that this presents for some students. She is the author of Metaphor and Corpus Linguistics (John Benjamins, 2005/ 2008) and co-author of Figurative Language, Genre and Register (Cambridge University Press, 2013) and The Linguistic Challenge of the Transition to Secondary School (Routledge, 2022).  

Dr Zsófia Demjén

Zsófia Demjén is Associate Professor of Applied Linguistics at the UCL Centre for Applied Linguistics and specialises in language and communication around illness and healthcare (humour, metaphor, narratives, etc.). She is (co-)author of Sylvia Plath and the Language of Affective States: Written Discourse and the Experience of Depression (2015, Bloomsbury), Metaphor, Cancer and the End of Life: A corpus-based study (2018, Routledge), and Researching Language and Health (2023, Routledge), editor of Applying Linguistics in Illness and Healthcare Contexts (Bloomsbury, 2020), and co-editor of The Routledge Handbook of Metaphor and Language (2017).

Dr Claire Hardaker

Dr Claire Hardaker is senior lecturer at the Department of Linguistics and English Language of Lancaster University. Her research focuses on deceptive, manipulative, and aggressive language in a range of online data. She has investigated behaviours ranging from trolling and disinformation to human trafficking and online scams. Her research typically uses corpus linguistic methods to approach forensic linguistic analyses, and connects with several other fields, including psychology, law, and computer science.

Professor Elena Semino

Elena Semino is Professor of Linguistics and Verbal Art in the Department of Linguistics and English Language at Lancaster University, and Director of the ESRC Centre for Corpus Approaches to Social Science. She specializes in health communication, medical humanities, corpus linguistics, stylistics, and metaphor theory and analysis. She has (co-)authored over 100 publications, including Metaphor in Discourse (Cambridge University Press, 2008), Metaphor, Cancer and the End of Life: A Corpus-based Study (Routledge, 2018) and Researching Language and Health (Routledge, 2023).