Universität Mannheim / PhilFak / Germanistik / english / German Linguistics / Projects and Research Activities / MIT.Qualitaet: Language quality in the digital age

Project MIT.Qualität

Measuring language quality in the digital age 

Angelika Storrer (University of Mannheim), Andrea Abel (EURAC Bozen), Carolin Müller-Spitzer (IDS Mannheim), Aivars Glaznieks (EURAC Bozen), Maja Linthe (University of Mannheim), Sascha Wolfer (IDS Mannheim) 


While edited texts published in the media, scientific texts and literature are expected to comply with certain language norms, it is evident that texts in social networks often do not meet the same standards. Will this have a long-term effect on written language in general and on the quality of texts produced by digital natives in particular?

Our project aims at exploring ways of empirically addressing this question. So far, scientific debate was based on a relatively limited amount of data concerning the effects of digital media on writing skills. We intend to provide an objective basis by developing a model that takes into consideration different aspects of quality, which are relevant for dialogical communication in digital and multimodal social media. We further plan to develop methods for measuring coherence as an aspect of quality and to evaluate them with the help of small case studies. In this way we hope to gain some insights into how constantly reading and writing short messages within dialogues affects the competence of planning and drafting longer monologues, thus contributing to filling a research gap. The project uses digital text collections (corpora) of learner texts and web genres that have been prepared and evaluated with the methods of corpus linguistics. New methods (e.g. crowd sourcing and data mining) will also be tested.

During the expert workshop in June 2018, both linguists and social media experts discussed the topic of text quality. The aim was also to obtain feedback on the initial project results.

A talk on "How to measure text quality in the digital age? New questions – new spectrum of methods" was given by Angelika Storrer and Andrea Abel on 12/09/2018 at the GAL 2018 at the University of Duisburg-Essen.

In November 2018 Maja Linthe, Aivars Glaznieks and Jennifer Frey presented several aspects of the project under the title "Measuring text quality in the digital age: The Project "MIT.Qualität" at the
1st Literacy Summit in Porto, Portugal. Link to the program (pdf).

At the end of January 2019, all cooperation partners met in Munich to discuss the project and its results.