Discourse Analysis

This week’s reading “Discourse Analysis: Making Complex
Methodology Simple” by Tatyana Bondarouk and Huub Ruel was all about analyzing discourse–which is the way in which people talk or write. While in the past researchers used positivism to study people’s relationships to IS (Information Systems) there is a growing interest in how people talk and write about IS and the impact this discourse had on people’s relationships to technology. As I read and skimmed the paper I was immediately curious as to how discourse analysis would even be possible. The data collection involved in discourse analysis seemed (and still seems to me) like a daunting and confusing task. Part of the problem is outlined in the paper when the author(s) state: “what we state, express, write and/or bring into a dialogue is already a reflection on our ‘inner’ language, or thoughts. Then, how to understand a ‘real intention’, what was supposed to be stated?” (Bondarouk and Ruel 4). In other words, we are trying to interpret and study language with language (which is the source of our confusion in the first place!). The authors, however, go on to explain, however, that it is the interconnection of texts that give value to discourse analysis. Essentially, rather than viewing language simply as a form of communication, discourse analysis aims to study how discourse shapes the world. All in all, while interpreting language itself is exceedingly difficult to study, zooming out and studying the wider content or effects of discourse provides more concrete data.