Discourse analysis is a qualitative method of analysis, which explores the meanings produced by language use and communication, the contexts and processes of these meanings and practices caused by these meanings. Discourse analysis aims to perceive and categorize various meaning-making processes, networks and practices from the data. Discourse analysis as an analysis practice includes various starting points and discipline-specific applications. Some variations stress, for example, coherent and strict analysis of language, conversation and interaction. Other variations emphasize intertextuality of meanings and the relationship of genres and discourses in an interaction situation or in a broader historical and social situation or process. A typical discourse analysis combines the analysis of language use at the micro level and the analysis of situations at the macro level. Discourse analysis, which focuses on the production, change and negotiations of meanings from the point of view of power and empowerment, is critical discourse analysis.
Regardless of the orientation of the discourse analysis, your conclusions of the research are always based on detailed analysis of the data. You can analyse several kinds of phenomena with discourse analysis: texts, media texts, pictures, films, environments, practices or combinations of them. The common factors uniting the various orientations and variations of the method are their common philosophical bases: social constructionism and linguistics.
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Read what is written in Strategies on discursive approach.