Discourse Analysis

If “discourse” is the way we use language to communicate with each other in social situations, then it is certainly something to think about when it comes to establishing (or negotiating) shared ideas and values. We use discourse to build relationships and establish culture and sub-culture(s). We use discourse to influence others, and co-create meaning in our world. “Discourse analysis” is a research methodology that provides a lens through which we can view the many functions of language. This includes understanding the way language is involved in power and ideological understanding between people. How does certain use of language shape prevailing power structures, construct societal narratives, or influence our everyday interactions? This kind of inquiry is the terrain of the discourse analysis researcher, who seeks to explore the structure and expression of language in order to understand meaning-making processes within a social and cultural context. I think this qualitative methodology will be useful to some of you as you move forward with your own work in Writing Studies. Thanks Thuy for providing thorough summary slides for the article Discourse Analysis: Making Complex Methodology Simple. I believe it is clear to all of you now that the discourse analysis method might help a researcher plan questions that delve beneath the surface of shared language use, so that one may uncover subtleties, and start to comprehend the power and influence of text and oral forms of communication within a community.

Our class slides:

In class I addressed refining your research question further (remember not to ask “leading questions”). I also shared with you the “Lit Review” funneling concept for narrowing the scope and scale of your research inquiry by establishing a “tighter” vision of scholarly influences that inform the research you propose to do. At this stage you should be collecting a lot of sources, but then you must narrow down (through some review) the key work that is important to your own research inquiry. This process involves reading scholarly abstracts and skimming articles in order to ascertain what is truly influential to your own work. In other words, you should be “winnowing down” your citation selections (selecting 15 key sources from a much bigger collection). This process is critical to good research because you alone can identify the previously established scholarly work that is more pertinent to your own research plans.

In the last phase of class, we followed another “liberating structure” protocol called “Appreciative Interviews” which gave each peer reviewer the chance to share their progress with their research proposal draft thus far. Peer partners each took notes (in our slides). This process was intended to support you in the work necessary for the coming week ahead. You will all complete a written peer review protocol in class next week. What is needed to do that work is your Research Proposal Draft which you will bring to class in hard copy (printed out). You will be exchanging drafts, reading them during workshop time, and then writing a Peer Review in person during class.

Your to-do list

Please read: Yu et al. (May 2016) When students want to stand out: Discourse moves in online classroom discussion that reflect students’ needs for distinctiveness. Computers in Human Behavior 58:1-11

Blog 11 due 4/18. Please write a blog reflection on our Mix Methods article above, and provide some comments on your draft process for your research proposal. Max will lead our discussion on Mix Methods in class. Directly afterward, there will be a “Peer Review” workshop. Your Research Proposal draft (in printed hard copy) will be required in class next week. **Please print out a hard copy of your proposal draft to share with your peer review partner in class.

See you next week in CAS 308! …And have a lovely Springtime weekend.