- A title page with your name and date.
- An introduction that defines the research question and the conceptual framework and explains the purpose, relevance, and importance of the research.
- Literature review.Define your conceptual framework and carry out an evaluation of other research that used this framework or similar frameworks.
- Data description and analysis. Describe the data you collected. Use your conceptual framework to frame, organize, and analyze the data. Define and evaluate the themes that emerge. State and discuss what insights and conclusions you discovered?
- Conclusion: State what is learned from the research.
The purpose of the present empirical research paper is to investigate how Prototype Theory works in defining categories in real life. The theory was introduced by Rosch (1975) in order to explain how semantic categories are represented in our mind. Several experiments prove the functioning of Prototype Theory, but in everyday life we often categorise instances based on our culturally bound definitions rather than based on similarity to a typical instance. Thus, this paper investigates the role of the two mechanisms through a small-scale study, aiming at finding answers to the following research questions: Are prototypes and definitions formed similarly or differently? What is the role of learnt knowledge in creating the prototypes and definitions? Do cultural factors play a role in creating prototypes and definitions? 2. Literature review 2.1. Basic concepts In this section a review of the most important concepts related to Prototype Theory will be provided. To begin with, prototype theory “suggests that many mental concepts we have are really prototypes. […] (It) has been useful in investigations into how concepts are formed, […] and to what extent certain concepts can be considered universal or specific to certain cultures / languages” (Longman Dictionary of Language Teaching and Applied Linguistics, 2003, p. 432). A prototype is “a person or object which is considered (by many people) to be typical of its class or group” (Longman Dictionary of Language Teaching and Applied Linguistics, 2003, p.432). Rosch (1975) defines it as “the clearest case of a category”, and Aitchinson (1984) also stresses the typicality of the prototype regarding its category. The prototype consists of a set of prototypical features, which are the attributes that are shared by most members, but by only a few non-members (Rosch, 1975), therefore are able to differentiate between categories. A category is a set of attributes that we consider as characteristics of groups of people or objects, or “a number of objects that are considered equivalent” (Rosch, 1978). The category plays an important role in word recognition because it can serve as the basis of identification of an object, as “people often define a concept by reference to typical instances” (Longman Dictionary of Language Teaching and Applied Linguistics, 2003, p. 432). Other related concepts to prototypes are stereotype and schema. Stereotypes are “beliefs about groups”, i.e. the number of attributes that we consider as characteristics of certain social groups (The Cambridge Dictionary of Psychology, p. 520). There are, for instance, stereotypes based on race, ethnicity, gender or certain professions. A schema is a concept used in pra>