MY428      Half Unit
Qualitative Text and Discourse Analysis

This information is for the 2019/20 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Audrey Alejandro COL.7.10


This course is available on the MSc in Applied Social Data Science, MSc in Development Studies, MSc in Gender, Media and Culture, MSc in Human Geography and Urban Studies (Research), MSc in Inequalities and Social Science, MSc in International Social and Public Policy (Research) and MSc in Social Research Methods. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

The course is also available to PhD students, please see MY528.


There are no prerequisites but some prior training in qualitative research methods is expected (including finding bibliographical resources, conducting a literature review, constructing a research problem, creating a research question...). Please contact the course convenor if unsure.

Course content

The goal of this course is to provide students with the skills to systematically identify and extract information from texts and discourses for social scientific purposes. While acquiring those skills, students also learn how to interpret textual data by exploring the concepts and case studies developed across disciplines. The course both establishes a theoretical foundation for text/discourse analysis and takes a practical and applied approach, so that students can acquire greater independence and confidence when conducting their research project.

The first part of the course discusses the major paradigms and traditions of qualitative text analysis and focuses on the application of specific analytical techniques to qualitative data. The main methods of qualitative text analysis, including content analysis and thematic analysis, will be explored with specific emphasis on discourse analysis. The second part of the course places the in-depth analysis of texts in the broader context of research methodology. It aims to help students in building critical thinking around qualitative text analysis by familiarising them with a variety of mixed-methods research designs that can be used when studying texts and discourses.

Lectures introduce the main conceptual and practical issues. Seminars provide practical experience of implementing the methodology. Students will be working directly with qualitative data and performing their own analyses on a diverse range of materials, such as political speeches and news articles, as well as cultural texts such as movie scripts and songs.


15 hours of lectures and 15 hours of seminars in the LT.

Week 6 is a Reading Week during which students work independently on their Summative Assignment.

Formative coursework

A project proposal (c.1,000 words) focusing on the topic that the student will develop in their summative assignment. The project proposal comprises a blog post and a project outline.

Indicative reading

Dunn K. and Neumann I. B. (2016). Undertaking Discourse Analysis for social research, Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

Baker, P. and Ellece, S. (2010). Key Terms in Discourse Analysis, London: Continuum.

Scheier, M. (2012). Qualitative Content Analysis. Sage, Thousand Oaks, CA.

Seale, C., Gobo, G., Gubrium, J.F. and Silverman, D. (2004). Qualitative research practice. London: Sage, chapters 11-12.


Essay (90%, 4000 words) and presentation (10%) in the ST.

A group presentation (10%) in which students present an original pilot analysis using the method of text analysis of their choice. This should be on a topic of the students' choosing but different from the research proposal.

A research proposal (90%, 4000 words) in the ST. It is recommend that students base the research proposal on a dimension/sub-question of their dissertation topic (or a related topic, e.g. a PhD proposal) subject to the approval of their home department.

Key facts

Department: Methodology

Total students 2018/19: 24

Average class size 2018/19: 11

Controlled access 2018/19: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information