The Research Process
The Phonology Project and Phonology Clinic are housed in the Waisman Center, which is located on the northwest side of the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus. The Phonology Clinic is located on the 1st floor of the North Tower and the Phonology Project is on the 4th floor of the South Tower. Many of the participants in our research are first assessed at the Phonology Clinic. We also conduct and participate in collaborative studies with investigators at other clinical-research centers in North America.
In this photo, an examiner is assessing the speech of a young child. We use game-like activities for most of our assessment protocol. We sample speech using naming, repetition, and reading tasks. We also base our analyses on samples of natural conversational speech. This is particularly important for our research on prosody characteristics of children with speech sound disorders.
Once we have high-quality digital recordings of a participant's speech, transcribers use narrow-phonetic transcription to transcribe the recordings. The transcribers also code the conversational sample using a procedure that yields information on 32 aspects of prosody and voice. Finally, analysts use custom software to quantify a participant's individual acoustic patterns.
Shown here are some examples of perceptually-based analysis output available from the computer programs. The figure on the left illustrates one of many Speech Profiles. We can compare a participant's speech profile with profiles of others who are the same age and gender. We can use many different statistical procedures to determine whether the speech of one speaker or group of speakers differs from the speech of persons with typical speech. The figure on the right illustrates this comparison for prosody-voice analyses. The acoustics analyses suite includes a large number and variety of comparative programs for analysis of speech, prosody, and voice.