Discourse Analysis & Research Proposal Update

Update on Research Proposal Process:

Hey guys,

So, I decided taking on Tyler’s bullet-point approach to my own blog posts as the semester is ending and my focus and attention is now directed more toward refining my research question and writing my research proposal draft. As of right now, I have written a very “rough” draft of my thesis proposal, now skimming through my selected sources, noticing when and where my ideas can be supported and backed by prior research. My rough draft is kind of all over the place, which seems to be okay at this point of the research process. I have so many tabs open, constantly going back and forth, trying to remember which article I read and cited. Refining research is a frustrating process, but as I slowly get more work done, I feel my notes and ideas are aligning and making more sense.

For now, I paused on writing my proposal draft, as I was feeling hesitant about my sources, and worrying if my research process will come together. Now I’m diving deeper into my research sources to work on my literature review. This way, I can have a better understanding and overview of each source that will drive my research inquiry forward. As for Thursday’s class, I’ll have a terrible rough draft of my thesis proposal, and a quarter of my literature review done. ~~ Baby steps, people, baby steps ~~

Response on Discourse Analysis:

The research article, Discourse Analysis: Making Complex Methodology Simple by Bondarouk and Ruël talks about the emergence of information systems (IS), and how recent research studies have showed an interest in discourse analysis. Discourse analysis goes hand-in-hand in understanding the inner-workings behind IS and the behavior associated with handling information technologies as their purpose is to essentially collect, store, decode, process, and transmit digital information to make meaning and understanding.

  • The article is straightforward, stating the authors concerns in the “‘universal’ relationships between variables in the social reality” (Bandarouk & Ruël, 2004). The authors central focus of concern is behind the data collection and decoding process of interpretative studies, especially ones that utilize quantitative methods of data collection. The positive paradigm of research is referenced all throughout the article, which relies on measurement and reason from an observable activity, action, or reason to make generalizable inferences.
  • I guess my question here, would be is the predominance of positivism among IS studies a good or bad thing? Because, as a novice researcher, I truly don’t know. All I do know is that Bandarouk & Ruël illustrate the multidisciplinary origins of “what actually constitutes ‘discourse’ and elaborate on the main principles of conducing discourse analysis in IS studies” (2004). The authors also go as far as to demonstrate an eight-step mode or guide for conducting discourse analysis for interpretative IS studies. Which, I assume is the author’s attempt at making discourse analysis a more simplified research methodology.
  • Truly, I’m still confused on this whole discourse analysis approach to interpretive studies. So, I did some research outside of the assigned article. Of course, I looked up a working definition of discourse analysis, one in which I can understand and apply to this article. According to Emerald Publishing, the Oxford English Dictionary defines discourse analysis as: “Linguistics, a method of analyzing the structure of texts or utterances longer than one sentence, taking into account both their linguistic content and their sociolinguistic context; analysis performed using this method.” I would assume the ‘interpretive’ portion of this decoding approach would involve reading in between the lines for deeper meaning.
  • I was also confused on the term “positivism,” in which the authors reference a lot throughout the article. When I researched “positivism among IS studies,” what came up was the word naturalism. Or, the view that only factual knowledge is gained through observation (the senses), including measurement, is trustworthy. Therefore, it seems to be that the discourse analysis approach must consider the principles of both nature and science when trying to extract valid information by an observed phenomenon.
  • Obviously, research paradigms guide scientific discoveries through assumptions and principles based off how the world operates. Therefore, the eight-step mode of discourse analysis is practical in its application process for novice researchers trying to understand or attempt a discourse analysis method approach. Although I’m still confused on this whole discourse analysis method-approach (one in which sounds tedious and complex), I can leave knowing that the first theoretical implication, or step one is “identifying a theory” (2004). From that point onward, the researcher must transcribe the interviews, always checking whether the words (or collected data) are in line with the proposed theory.

  • One last thing I noticed while skimming through this article is the difference in traditional and discourse analysis interviews. If a researcher chooses to use discourse analysis as a means of data processing, then they must systematically prepare interview questions that align with the consistency of their proposed theory and allows for diversity in responses. This way, the researcher can later conduct an in-depth, meaningful transcription of the phonetic and intonational features behind each verbal response.   

That’s all I got to say for this week folks ~~

Xoxo,

Francesca Di Fabio 🙂

track 10. discourse analysis

In “Discourse Analysis: Making Complex Methodology Simple,” Tatyana Bondarouk and Huub Ruel give context for and exemplify how to conduct discourse analysis. In addition to explaining the hermeneutic circle of interpretation that functions as the core of discourse analysis, they also provide a short history to explain how the methodology has come to define “discourse” itself as “‘a system of texts that brings objects into being,'” emphasizing the relationship between the texts and what that reveals to the interpreter (Bondarouk and Ruel 6). This aspect of discourse analysis theory is the part of it that speaks the most to me, as it’s another one of those things that seems like it’d be obvious, emphasizing on the contexts surrounding the texts in order to achieve deeper understanding; it reminds me of Actor Network Theory, but it’s so much more manageable in scope and less confusing. I do think its also interesting that one of it’s main drawbacks is that, in order for it to work effectively, discourse analysis requires participants to be fully honest and for the contexts surrounding the texts to be readily available; maybe mixing this method with ethnography or phenomenology would help fill in any gaps that might arise when utilizing it.

As for my proposal draft progress, I feel that now that I’ve put more time into it, it’s starting to take shape. I’m still not fully confident in what I’m doing, but having a more stable foothold with some research to stand on is making this project seem more feasible, even with my schedule. Interestingly enough, the reading this week on discourse analysis may be a more fitting methodology for my research proposal than the others I initially considered, so I should include that in my draft and notes. I feel I’ve spent a lot of time in one of the databases (the religion one specifically) and would definitely benefit from searching in some others, so that is one of my goals for my research this week. I will say, even finding a piece of research I can possibly use gives me a sort of second wind when it comes to the act of researching; I hesitate to call it a breakthrough, but it feels like one every time it happens.

I wrote this blog post while listening to the album “Drunk” by Thundercat (2017); I felt a hankering for some funky bass, and the album delivered that and then some.