Quantitative authorship attribution: A history and an evaluation of techniques

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I here present a history of the field of quantitative authorship attribution and an evaluation of its techniques. The basic assumption of quantitative authorship attribution is that the author of a text can be selected from a set of possible authors by comparing the values of textual measurements in that text to their corresponding values in each author's writing sample. Over the centuries, many measurements have been proposed, but never before have the majority of these measurements been tested on the same dataset. Until now investigators of authorship have not known which measurements are the best indicators of authorship. Such information is crucial if our current techniques are to be used effectively and if new more powerhl techniques are to be developed. Based on the results of this study, I propose that the best approach to quantitative authorship attribution involves the analysis of many different types of textual measurements.

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Department of Linguistics - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (M.A.)