English and drama

Approaches to Discourse

Module code: Q1082
Level 5
15 credits in spring teaching
Teaching method: Lecture, Seminar
Assessment modes: Coursework

This module will introduce you to methods of studying various forms of discourse (both spoken and written). You will familiarise yourself with a number of different theoretical approaches to discourse and will understand the methodological premises on which they are based. Having being exposed to issues of data collection and transcription and to the conversation analysis framework in year 1, you will approach the study of discourse analysis and pragmatics from both a theoretical and an applied perspective.

Following the discussion of such theoretical approaches as ethnography of communication, critical discourse analysis, corpus and computer-assisted discourse analysis, you will focus on some of the aspects of institutional discourse for instance the discourse of the media, of politics and education. Emphasis is laid on how ideology, identity, or stance are expressed and conveyed through discourse.

Module learning outcomes

  • Understand discourse as social practice and its function in reality.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the different theories for a study of discourse, and understand and appreciate both top-down and bottom-up approaches to data.
  • Apply theory to an analysis of language data and make decision on which methodology is best to use for given data.
  • Plan and organise an argumentative piece of writing supported by data and synthesise research literature in a critical way.