Portrayal of student at top business school communication – conference presentation at ISA RC33 conference

Márton Rakovics and Réka Tamássy, our junior researchers participated in the International Sociological Association’s (ISA) research committee RC33 on Logic and Methodology online conference on 9 September. The presentation took place in the section on Natural Language Processing where Rakovics presented their joint research with Zsuzsanna Géring and Gábor Király.


In their analysis the research group aimed to unveil the discursive construction of higher education students. Their corpus consists of the ‘About us’ sections of the Times Higher Education 2019 top 100 Business & Economics higher education institutions’ (HEI) websites, in which they analysed the naming of students as well as the verbs that appeared in connection with them. The theoretical background of the research is based in contemporary discourse theories according to which the HEIs portrayal of students constructs and legitimizes the students’ identity and relationship to the HEI.

The methodological novelty of the research lies in that the verbs in connections with higher education students were found and analysed by a computer-assisted method. Early findings of the ongoing research project show that there are three main categories of HEIs based on the role they assign to their students: expecting excellent student performance is typical among the highest ranked and North American institutions; the aim to attract the most talented students usually appears on the websites of Asian universities, while discourse on student development most often emerges at European institutions.


In the subsequent stages of the analysis, the researchers will examine the verbs and other word types that co-occur with other terms typically used for students.