The MELC (Metaphor in End-of-Life Care) project investigated the use of metaphor in the experience of end-of-life care in United Kingdom. Researchers studied the metaphors used by patients, family carers, and healthcare professionals in interviews and contributions to online forums.
The project addressed two research questions:
- How do patients, family carers, and healthcare professionals use metaphor to talk about their experience, attitudes, and expectations of end-of-life care?
- What does the use of metaphor suggest about the experiences and needs of the members of these groups and their mutual relationships, and the nature of metaphor as a linguistic and cognitive phenomenon?
The method researchers employed to identify and analyse metaphor is both qualitative and quantitative. The approach included the exploitation of an online semantic annotation tool developed by a member of the team, which has enabled researchers to identify metaphorical expressions more systematically than is possible with other methods for the study of metaphor in large data sets.