Discourse Analysis

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A qualitative method, the focus of discourse analysis (DA) is any form of written or spoken language, such as a conversation or a newspaper article. The main topic of interest is the underlying social structures, which may be assumed or played out within the conversation or text. It concerns the sorts of tools and strategies people use when engaged in communication (also known as linguistic repertoires), such as slowing one's speech for emphasis, use of metaphors, choice of particular words to display effect, and so on. One example would be in the analysis of power relations.

The investigator attempts to identify categories, themes, ideas, views, roles, and so on, within the text itself. The aim is to identify commonly shared discursive resources. The investigator tries to answer questions such as how the discourse helps us understand the issue under study, how people construct their own version of an event, and how people use discourse to maintain or construct their own identity.

In terms of conversational data, the researcher uses the transcript of the conversation (a systematic way of coding the words) as their source. An example might be mother-child conversations focussing on situations that provoke anxiety, or another might be a conversation among a group of factory workers about the royal family.

Also a qualitative method, conversational analysis (CA) focuses on the procedural analysis of talk-in interaction, how participants systematically organise their interactions to solve a range of organisational problems, such as the distribution of turns at talking, the collaborative production of particular actions, or problems of understanding. The analysis is always based on audio or visual recordings of interaction, which are carefully transcribed in detail. The research should be "data-driven"—in the sense that concepts and hypotheses should be based on careful consideration of the data, recordings and transcript, rather than drawn from theoretical...
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