Doing Research with Discourse Analysis

In collaboration with Lancaster University
This discourse analysis course invites students from all disciplines with an interest in the social relevance of their study, such as social sciences, politics, social psychology, linguistics, history, law, health care, media and communication studies, education, geography, animal welfare, environmental studies, economics, and organization studies. The course offers advanced academic skills for research design with a discourse component.
Course levelMaster/PhD
Block 1
8 to 22 July 2017
Recommended course combinationSuitable with all courses, for example with block 2 courses: Discover the Dutch: Dutch Language and Culture, Reading for Real: Contextual Biblical Interpretation and Data Analysis in R. Combinations with block 3: Governing Climate Change: Theory and Practice, Responsible Research and Innovation Boot Camp and Feeding the Billions: Challenges and Innovation in Food and Water Securityempty
Co-ordinating lecturerDr. Bertie Kaal 
Other lecturersVrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Language & Communication: Prof. Alan Cienki,  Dr Luuk Lagerwerf, Dr Joyce Lamerichs, Dr. Fleur van der Houwen, Dr. Sue Blackwell
VU-CETAR: Dr Anna Kaal, Sebastiaan Dönszelmann         
Lancaster University: Prof. Dr. Alison Sealey (Guest lecture)
University of East Anglia: Prof. Dr. Andreas Musolff
VU Fac. of Social Science: Dr. Ida Sabelis
Form(s) of tuitionLecture and interactive seminars
Form(s) of assessmentPresentation, classroom assignments, participation and research design assignment
ECTS4 credits
Contact hours58 plus pre-readings, lab work and Research Design assignment
Tuition fee€1150
Students and professionals who take a social interest in their research field or profession. Predominantly: Social sciences, policy and politics, social psychology, health care, history, law, business and organization studies, media and communication studies, education, human geography, economics, animal welfare. Students who are in their final year of bachelors studies or have obtained a full bachelors degree are able to register for this course. If you have doubts about your eligibility for the course, please let us know. Our courses are multi-disciplinary and therefore are open to students with a wide variety of backgrounds.

The discourse analysis (DA) course offers advanced academic skills for research design with a discourse analytic component. It gives a framework for integrating discourse analytic methods in other methodologies with a view to practice critical reasoning about research design, goals, accountability and ethics. We will look at language use as the mirror and motor of social diversity and change and discuss how people make sense of complex phenomena and their social implications. Examples of research design in health care, education, politics, economics, forensics, gender studies, and media and communication studies will be a basis for students to learn to integrate discourse analysis in their own field of interest.

Discourse analytic methods will include: identifying levels of meaning making from the lexical micro-level to the social macro-level; recognizing text types and their communicative function; ethnography and conversation analysis; argumentation; cognitive aspects of perspectivisation, types of framing, metaphor; Historical Discourse Analysis; multimodal communication; data selection; qualitative and quantitative methods in content-, linguistic- and text analysis. Students are encouraged to participate actively and to bring in perspectives from their own cultural background and fields of interest. Your input will be integrated in the discussions and in-group assignments. In this way, you will learn to account for the choices you make in your research design and its discourse analytic component.

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and its Network Institute have a long tradition of fostering transdisciplinary research. The tutors on this course are closely associated with that effort: Amsterdam Research on Text and Talk in Institutional Settings (ARTTIS) specializes in effective communication; the Amsterdam Critical Discourse Community (ACDC) encourages academic dialogue across disciplines; courses in Discourse Analysis and Active Entrepreneurship in the university’s Economics and Business Studies programme. Moreover, your tutors include senior lecturers and professors from the world’s leading centre for critical discourse analysis at Lancaster University (UK) and University of East Anglia (UK). You are assured of plenty of classroom interaction.

Student quote: "This course reminds us to be more sensitive about the importance of the context in which words are used.”

The course focuses on advancing academic skills and ethics. Students will be able to make a research framework in a social context, including a discourse analytic component. You will have gained experience in academic self-reflection and learn about research practices in other disciplines. You will be able to articulate and account for doing discourse analysis in your own field of interest.
To be confirmed.

Text book: Hyland, K. and B. Paltridge. 2011. The Bloomsbury Companion to Discourse Analysis. London: Bloomsbury.
Recommended: Wodak, R. and M. Meyer. 2015. Methods of Critical Discourse Studies. London: Sage.
Maxwell, J. 2013. Qualitative Research Design: An interactive approach, 3rd Ed. London: Sage.
Additional readings: over 20 articles on specific theory and practice.

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