A guide to discourse analysis
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A guide to discourse analysis

Rose McCloskey Associate nursing professor, University of New Brunswick, Canada

How can discourse analysis inform and help develop nursing practice? With reference to her study of the discourse of nursing home residents transferring to emergency departments, Rose McCloskey explains the concepts of discourse and discourse analysis and considers how they can contribute to an expansion of nursing knowledge

Discourse analysis (DA) is becoming an increasingly popular research strategy for researchers in various disciplines, yet it evades a common understanding and systematic approach. Without a clear understanding of discourse and DA it is difficult to comprehend important research findings and impossible to use DA as a research strategy. In this paper, I will introduce the concepts of discourse and DA as understood and operationalised by critical social theorists. I will discuss how discourse informs nursing practice and how DA can contribute to nursing knowledge and practice. I will describe Potter and Wetherell’s (1987) stages of DA and will discuss the various ways each of these stages can be conceptualised and operationalised.

Nurse Researcher. 16, 1, 24-44. doi: 10.7748/nr2008.10.16.1.24.c6751

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