Posted on: 7th May 2020

Discourse Analysis in Research

Discourse analysis is a realistic approach to Language. College going students studying Masters or Graduates are generally not aware of Discourse analysis. They also do not have information about the uses of discourse analysis. In this article, our professionals will explain discourse analysis so that students can apply the same in their research.

Discourse Analysis in Research

Discourse analysis: Meaning

Discourse analysis in research can be referred to as the study of linguistic relations. It is a Qualitative and interpretive technique for analyzing texts. Discourse analysis based on the detail of material or the basis of their knowledge. Discourse analysis includes analysis of different elements of language. Researchers mainly execute discourse analysis for developing understanding about the way language is used by people in real-life situations. At the time of performing Discourse analysis you need to emphasize on:

  • Objectives and influence of different types of language
  • Rule of culture and Conventions in communication
  • Analysis of way beliefs, values, and assumptions are communicated.
  • Evaluation of the way the use of language relates to political, historical, and social contexts.

Discourse analysis is considered as a basic Qualitative Research method which investigator mainly uses for researching the field of psychology, social science discipline, sociology, cultural studies, etc.

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Uses of discourse analysis in research

The researcher mainly utilizes Discourse analysis in research for analyzing the functions of language. You can also use discourse analysis for analyzing the way meaning is generated in different social contexts. You can apply discourse analysis to both oral and written language. You can use it for analysing gestures and tones. Materials which are most appropriate for discourse analysis are:

  • Newspaper, periodicals, and books
  • Marketing essentials like an advertisement, brochures, etc.
  • Legal and Business Documents
  • Posts on social media, comments, websites, etc.
  • Conversations and interview

By performing the discourse analysis, an investigator intends to develop an in-depth understanding of social groups and the way they interact.

How Discourse analysis different from other methods?

Like a linguistic approach that mainly emphasizes on code of conduct related to the use of language, Discourse analysis in research concentrates on contextualizing the meaning of language. Discourse analysis also concentrates on social aspects of communication and the way people utilize language for achieving particular effects such as building trust, creating doubt, managing conflicts, etc.

Besides concentrating on small units of language like sounds, phrases, etc. You can utilize discourse analysis for analyzing big chunks of language like a lengthy conversation, a collection of texts, etc. You can analyze selected sources at different levels.

Discourse analysis

Level of communication Things to analyze
words, Sentences, phrases This involves words or phrases which you can utilize for analyzing ideological relationship euphemistic and metaphorical content.
Grammar It includes an analysis of the way sentences are created. In addition to this, the utilization of imperatives can represent the different aspects of the intended meaning.
Structure Researchers can easily analyze the structure of a text and on the way, it built a narrative.
Genre You can analyze the text in the context of the communicative aim of genre and conventions.
Non- verbal communication Non-verbal aspects of communication include tone, pauses, gestures, etc. indicate the intention of the speaker
Conversational codes The researcher analyzes conversation which takes place between people such response of listener and interruption can represent the different aspects of cultural conventions.

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How to perform Discourse analysis?

The 4 steps of performing discourse analysis are:

Step 1: Write research Questions and Select content for analysis

Before starting to conduct Discourse analysis, you need to clearly define research questions. After developing research questions, you need to make a selection of the range of material that is appropriate for answering it. Discourse analysis applies to a large volume of materials and even smaller samples. At the time of applying discourse analysis you need to consider the aim and timescale of research.

Example: The Researcher is researching studying the way changes in a particular regime that is from dictatorship to democracy influences the public relations in the nation. An investigator has planned to scrutinize the mission statement and marketing material of 12 Multinational organizations during the last few years after changes in regime.

Step 2: Collect information and theory related to the topic

At this step, you need to decide the historical and social background in which the material is produced and intends to receive. Here, you are requiring collecting information about when and where consent was created. You should also provide information about who is the author, who published the article, whom it is disseminated. In addition to this, the researcher can also perform a literature review on a specific topic. It is also very essential for you to design a theoretical framework as these tactics will help you in guiding analysis.

Example: Researcher performs investigation for collecting factual information related to politics and history of nation. They also intend to execute an investigation for searching theory on democratic transitions. Another purpose of performing research is to analyze the relationship between business and government.

Step 3: Analysis of content for designing themes

It is a step that includes close examinations of different elements of material like paragraphs, sentences, words, etc. After that you are required to relate different elements with themes, patterns that are relevant to the research question.

Example: Researcher analyse the material for statements and wording which represents authoritarian and democratic political ideologies. It includes attitudes, liberal values etc.

Step 4: Review of research results and drawing of a conclusion

After assigning specific attributes to different elements of material, then at the next step, you need to write a reflection on research results which will help you in the examination of functions and meaning of language. At this step, you are required to consider your analysis in a broader context which you have established earlier for concluding which includes answering to the research Question.

Example:  Research performs by the researcher for analyzing the influence of changes in regime on public relations with the organization. The result of the investigation reveals that the article which is published earlier before changes in regime uses such language which mainly focuses on the Quality and importance of its services or products. Material which has been published after regime change focuses on values and requirements by customers.  After that researcher has done a comparison of results with an investigation on ideologies and political regimes. It has been found from the investigation that changes in the political situation have shaped the communication strategies of national companies.


It has been concluded from the above that discourse analysis is a qualitative methodology that you can utilize for analyzing texts. Another fact which has been found from the above is that discourse analysis mainly emphasizes in analyzing the different aspects of language.

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Author Bio:

Angela Wong

Hi Guys, Happy to help you in research paper writing. I am post graduate from SUSS and now involved in providing assistance to Singapore students for making research projects during masters and Phd scholars. You can consult me for marketing, management, finance, accounting or any kind of research paper writing query