When I uploaded my Jane Austen corpus to Voyant, I had originally wanted to see what themes and topics are of focus and come up the most amongst the whole range of texts but most of the top words are names and even when I remove those most of the words are too ambiguous to really attach a single theme, so I had to work in reverse.
I know that the theme of decorum and manners is a significant one in Austen’s novels so I created my own set of terms for Voyant to use to check the books for: Composure, Composed, Manners, Proper, Properly, Propriety, Civility, Civilities, Civil, Civilly, Civilized, Decorum. I did this to not only see how often the words appear but if any book seems to have a higher majority than the others.
Unfortunately, no single book had a majority across all the terms, but I expected as much. A few books stand out a little more than the rest but no single book, and no single book has a consistent minority either. I decided to take the top term within the set I created, “Manners,” which also seemed to have a more even curve across the books than other words, and single it out and analyze the contexts it comes up in within the books.
That’s basically where I’m at currently, it’s a little difficult to go through all the instances of “Manners” on Voyant alone since there’s over 200. It’s also difficult considering I haven’t read all the novels yet so even given some context, I don’t fully understand it; it feels like I’m relying on the technical aspect of the analyzing too much and it’s kinda got me at a standstill, but I can’t do an interpretive analysis either, again, since I haven’t read all the books yet.
But it was useful to realize that I have to reframe my questions and to be able to think of what words fit which categories and be able to draw out the information I want, but it sort of made me realize that, at least with these texts, Voyant can’t really tell me what the major topics/themes are, even when showing me which words appear the most, I have to already know the texts and the themes or at least know what I’m looking for in order to use Voyant to my advantage, which isn’t a fault per se, but again makes it difficult when I haven’t read all the texts I’m analyzing.