Discourse analysis is a qualitative method that was developed and adopted by social constructionist. The method traces its origin from communication and linguistics. It offers numerous ways of investigating the meanings in natural conversation and cultural contexts. Discourse analysis is increasingly becoming common in both academic and non-academic settings. It can be referred to as “talk about talk” which involves studying a language in its contextual use, which may involves face-to-face talks, images, non-verbal interactions, documents and symbols. In discourse analysis, the task of the research is to examine micro elements of communication.
The task involves transcribing a piece of text or conversation and then deconstructing it to identify specific features such as discourses. Discourse in this context refers to specific themes, especially those that are related to identities. In discourse analysis, the research must understand the distinguishing features, know when to use specific feature of communication, forms of discourse analysis and analytical tools.
The distinguishing features in discourse analysis are microanalysis, transcription, and how to do thing with words. Microanalysis in discourse analysis involves micro levels of describing language use.
Transcription is the transformation of spoken discourse into text form that is total agreeable analysis and obtainable for in research reports. According to Wood and Kroger (2000) transcription is “complicate and time consuming.” Transcription facilitates later identification of linguistic features since it is impossible to keep elements of discourse analysis in mind while listening. Transcription also serves to keep the avail data for reanalysis by others. On the other hand, how to do things in words is concerned with the study of language in use, or what writers and speakers do with words or a language according to Yotsukura (2010), this is “how people convey daily functions such as requests, apologies, complaints, offers, and the like.” Language is dynamic and the meaning may vary according to the speaker’s status, age, gender and perspectives.
In discourse analysis, the research must know when to uses specific features studying discourse.
How people do things with words is used when can be used when the researcher intent to find the meaning of specific words in a particular discourse. Studying naturally occurring talk is conducted when the research intends to find out how the participants in such talks “understand and respond to one another in their turns at the talk, with a central focus on how sequences of actions are generated.” (Hutchby & Wooffitt, 2008).
Conversations that occur naturally unfold in a natural way of the talker as opposed to organized communication in laboratories which are designed experimentally. Natural talk thus provides researcher with rich information. Studying the particularities of conversation and speakers is useful when a researcher intend to build collections and distinguish phenomena. For instance, the research can use the particularities to determine whether, “the speaker is ‘skeptical’, or the recipient is displaying recognition of possible skepticism” (Hutchby & Wooffitt, 2008). The research can identify a phenomenon and locate and analyze it use in varied instances.
Discourse analysis can be conducted in four different ways. It can be conducted through conversation analysis which involves systematic analysis of daily human talks and interaction in daily situations. Ethno methodology, which is the second approach, involves understanding how people envision, describe and unanimously forge a definition for a particular situation. The third approach, critical discourse analysis, entails a study of the propagation abuse of social power, inequalities and dominance, and how they are replicated and resisted through talk and text in political and social contexts. The form, narrative analysis, lays emphasis on the techniques through which people crate and use tales to understand their world.
To do these, a research best friend is the analytical tools. These include transcription and microanalysis, semantics, pragmatics, adjacency pairs, accounts, archeology, peplies and responses among other. The research had to use a critical combination of these tools to yield accurate information.
In sum, discourse analysis involves qualitatively studying analyzing and understanding language and their word. The research must study the micro elements of a language to understand it. The researcher must know different forms of discourse analysis and have ability to use discourse analysis analytical tools.
Hutchby, I., & Wooffitt, R. (2008). Conversation Analysis. Polity.
Wood, L. A., & Kroger, R. O. (2000). Doing discourse analysis: methods for studying action in talk and text. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage Publications.
Yotsukura, L. (2010). How People Do Things With Words: Discourse and Pragmatics in Japanese and English. Retrieved from http://universityhonors.umd.edu/258X1101.php