Discourse and Theosophy, by George McNamara

6. A Discourse Toolbox

Imaginary Reader …….. Site of Struggle ……. Entangled Strands ……. these are some of the techniques in my Discourse Toolbox

More details of the toolbox are given at my site at www.discoursetoolbox.co.uk. As a case study, I have used the toolbox on a key UK food policy document to provide examples throughout this site (and this was part of my MSc dissertation).

This may seem like another gimmick, but it is more serious and more effective than that, because

  1. It is securely founded on the academic disciplines of Discourse, Critical Discourse Analysis, and Text Analysis. On the website, I give brief summaries of these fields and how the toolbox has been derived from them
  2. It is an attempt to go beyond the debating, commentating and campaigning which fill the mass media. The Discourse Toolbox gives an potential to develop agreed and definitive answers to questions like "What are they thinking of to say that ?" and "What are they really saying ?".
  3. The Discourse Toolbox forms part of an array of techniques, together with Context Analysis, Organisational Analysis and the Dispositive which give the opportunity for Triangulation. A process of triangulation using several approaches can be essential to validate information and generate full understanding. I have also added a section on organisational analysis, as policies and texts produced by any organisation often have more importance inside the organisation than outside.

In a large-scale survey, any or all of these techniques can be used on a text to generate overall conclusions - ideally these can then be used to understand "What do they really think", and in this way communication can be improved, and the organisation's policies and expression can be improved.

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