What is CAPS?
CAPS is an acronym meaning Computer-based Analysis of Personal Style – in this case, “style” meaning style of writing.
Yet, analysing and clustering whatever we find to be stylistically striking is only one of our goals for this project. For a long time, scholars have suggested that language closely connects to phenomena such as emotion, social status or situational context. This called our attention: In our project, we are trying to examine how and where information about these concepts may be transmitted by written text. To test this assumption empirically, we use qualitative approaches as well as quantitative computer-based tools of analysis. In terms of texts, our focus is on diaries and letters. We look at famous persons such as Franz Kafka, Thea Sternheim, and Sigmund Freud (!), but also comprise letters and texts by “everyday” people.
The CAPS project is located at the chair of Prof. Dr. Gerhard Lauer. It is based in Goettingen University’s Research-Oriented Teaching and Learning format within the Campus Q+ program, organized by the Department of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. The program is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung, Förderkennzeichen 01PL11061).
Who is CAPS?
Our CAPS-team is a collaboration of seven bachelor and master students from the University of Goettingen (making it CAPSGOE). Coming from different faculties we are an interdisciplinary team combining language and linguistic studies as well as philosophy, psychology and computational studies.
The project is supervised by Digital Humanist Dr. Berenike Herrmann. CAPS has been running from its kick-off in April 2016 and will be finalized by the end of October 2016, when we will publicly present our results.
Based in Goettingen, Germany we are eager to use this blog to reach out further, e. g. to other Digital Humanists – or just interested people – around the globe who would like to read along, comment and stay tuned for our journey.