MY428      Half Unit
Qualitative Text and Discourse Analysis

This information is for the 2021/22 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Audrey Alejandro COL.7.10


This course is available on the MSc in Applied Social Data Science, MSc in Culture and Conflict in a Global Europe, MSc in Culture and Conflict in a Global Europe (LSE & Sciences Po), MSc in Culture and Society, MSc in Development Studies, MSc in Gender (Research), 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.

This course is freely available to any MSc or MRes students interested in text and discourse analysis.

The course is also available to PhD students interested in text and discourse analysis, please see MY528.

This course is not controlled access. If you register for a place and meet the prerequisites, if any, you are likely to be given a place.


There are no prerequisites for this module but capacity to work autonomously is expected (including conducting a literature review, finding one’s own bibliographical resources, creating one's own research question, etc.) Throughout the module, students are expected to make their own research decisions and learn how to become autonomous junior researchers by constructing a research project on their own. Students not confident in their capacity to work autonomously are encouraged to familiarise themselves with these skills prior to the beginning of the module to be able to make the most of out of the teaching (see for example the section “Further resources” on the Moodle page of the module for resources helping you prepare yourself for autonomous work).


Course content

How can we use texts and discourses to create meaning about the social world? The goal of this course is to provide students with the skills to construct and conduct social science research using text and discourse as an entry point. While acquiring these 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 to conduct their research project autonomously.

Discourse Analysis is the overarching method that structures the content of the course. The first part of the course focuses on the application of the most common methods used to analyse texts and discourses (including thematic analysis and content analysis). The second part of the course places the in-depth analysis of texts in the broader context of research methods and design, to ensure students know how to critically self-assess their work and produce research to the highest standards. 

Beyond learning the skills of qualitative text/discourse analysis, this course is an invitation to produce more structured, analytical and critical research capable of grasping not only the visible but also the invisible and implicit dimensions of politics and society. In that sense, the module also represents a perfect opportunity for students with a quantitative background to harness the strengths of qualitative methods and design strong mixed-methods analysis.

Examples from across the social sciences will be used throughout the lectures and seminars. More information about MY428 can be found on the Moodle page of the module (for example course structure, examples of formative and summative assignments from the previous cohorts, and detailed guidelines about the assignments). Please do not hesitate to self-enrol to the Moodle page of the module to have a better idea of the content of the module and the work required.


15 hours of lectures and 15 hours of seminars in the LT. This year, some or all of this teaching may be delivered through a combination of virtual classes and flipped-lectures delivered as short online videos.

This course has a Reading Week in Week 6 of LT.

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

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

Gee, JP (2011). How to do discourse analysis: a toolkit, New York: Routledge

Kuckartz U. (2014). Qualitative text analysis: a guide to methods, practice & using software. Los Angeles: Sage.

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

Taylor, S (2013). What is discourse analysis? London: Bloomsbury Academic.



Research project (100%) in the ST.

The summative assignment is an exploratory project of 4000 words. Students can base their research project 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.

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2021/22 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the differing needs of students in attendance on campus and those who might be studying online. For example, this may involve changes to the mode of teaching delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: Methodology

Total students 2020/21: 40

Average class size 2020/21: 10

Controlled access 2020/21: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication