MY528      Half Unit
Qualitative Text and Discourse Analysis

This information is for the 2022/23 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Audrey Alejandro COL.7.10


This course is available on the MPhil/PhD in Environmental Policy and Development, MPhil/PhD in Human Geography and Urban Studies, MPhil/PhD in International Relations, MPhil/PhD in Management - Information Systems and Innovation, MPhil/PhD in Regional and Urban Planning Studies, MPhil/PhD in Social Research Methods, MRes/PhD in Accounting (AOI) (Accounting, Organisations and Institutions Track) and MRes/PhD in Management (Organisational Behaviour). This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

This course is available to all research students who are permitted to take an outside option as part of their programme.

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 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 out of the teaching (see for example LSE Life services and the section “Further resources” on the Moodle page of the module for resources helping you to 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. The second part of the course places the in-depth analysis of texts in the broader context of research design and knowledge production, to ensure students know how to critically 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 MY528 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.


This course is delivered through a combination of lectures and seminars totalling a minimum of 30 hours across Lent Term.

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.

Key facts

Department: Methodology

Total students 2021/22: 19

Average class size 2021/22: 6

Lecture capture used 2021/22: Yes (LT)

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

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.