The Language of Patient Feedback: A Corpus Linguistic Study of Online Health Communication, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Language of Patient Feedback

A Corpus Linguistic Study of Online Health Communication, 1st Edition

By Paul Baker, Gavin Brookes, Craig Evans


264 pages | 14 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9781138702776
pub: 2019-04-19
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The Language of Patient Feedback provides a unique insight into a diverse range of issues related to health care. Through the comprehensive and detailed interrogation of 29 million words of online patient feedback on the NHS in England, as well as 11 million words of responses to the feedback from NHS providers, this book:

  • uses a combination of computer-assisted and human analysis (Corpus-Assisted Discourse Analysis) to examine the extent to which characteristics like age and gender result in different types of evaluation;
  • investigates why nurses, doctors, dentists and receptionists are associated with very distinct types of feedback;
  • demonstrates the ways that NHS staff respond to comments and what this reveals about underlying institutional ideologies and practices;
  • concludes with suggestions for key recommendations that the NHS could act upon to improve the overall level of care it provides, as well as reflecting on what patient evaluation can actually tell us.

The Language of Patient Feedback is key reading for anyone undertaking research within corpus linguistics, discourse analysis and health communication.


"Engaging and thought-provoking throughout, this corpus-assisted study of patient feedback combines theoretical discussions with a wealth of empirical and practical insights. It will be of great interest to linguistics and communication scholars as well as health practitioners."

Dr Nelya Koteyko, Queen Mary University of London, UK

Table of Contents

List of figures

List of tables


  1. Introduction: The NHS, patient feedback and corpus linguistics
  2. What seems to be the trouble? Identifying key areas of patient concern
  3. On a scale of 1 to 5… Comparing the rating scale with written feedback
  4. Rude receptionists, dismissive doctors and lovely nurses: Comparing NHS providers and staff
  5. I have been a patient with this surgery all my life: Age and evaluation
  6. Real men don’t feel pain: Language and gendered expectations
  7. Your feedback is important to us: Staff replies to patient feedback
  8. Conclusion: The health of the NHS
  9. References


About the Authors

Paul Baker is Professor of English Language at the Department of Linguistics and English Language, Lancaster University, UK, where he is also a member of the ESRC Centre for Corpus Approaches to Social Science (CASS). He has written 16 books and is also commissioning editor of the journal Corpora (EUP).

Gavin Brookes is Senior Research Associate in the ESRC Centre for Corpus Approaches to Social Science (CASS) in the Department of Linguistics and English Language at Lancaster University, UK. His research interests include corpus linguistics, (critical) discourse studies, multimodality and health communication.

Craig Evans is a student in the ESRC Centre for Corpus Approaches to Social Science (CASS) in the Department of Linguistics and English Language at Lancaster University, where he is currently working on his PhD studying NHS patient feedback and staff responses using a corpus-based approach to discourse analysis. His interests include discourse and identity, social care and health communication.

About the Series

Routledge Applied Corpus Linguistics

The Routledge Applied Corpus Linguistics Series is a series of monograph studies exhibiting cutting-edge research in the field of corpus linguistics.

Corpus linguistics is one of the most dynamic and rapidly developing areas of the field of language studies and it is difficult to see a future for empirical language research where results are not replicable by reference to corpus data. The aim of the series is to showcase the latest research in the field of applied language studies where corpus findings are at the forefront of the research.

This series was co-founded by Ronald Carter (1947-2018).

If you are interested in contributing to this series, please contact the Series Editors, Michael McCarthy and Anne O’Keeffe (


Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Communication Studies
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / General