The aim of this chapter is to provide an overview of some of the main approaches to spoken corpus research and to explore the contributions that may be made by corpus analysis toward the study of spoken language. Among the topics discussed are the design of spoken corpora and how they differ from written corpus design; issues involved in the transcription and coding of spoken data; the role of metadata that accounts for the participants and contexts for the recorded speech; and particular questions of research ethics that intersect with the collection, coding, representation and storage of the data. By reviewing previous work in this way, the chapter also aims to lay a basis for discussions in the following chapters of the ways in which recent monomodal and multimodal spoken corpus research has extended and enriched these foundations.