Discourse Analysis and Discursive Psychology
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McVittie, C. & McKinlay, A. (2021) Discourse Analysis and Discursive Psychology. In: Cooper, H. (ed.) APA Handbook Of Research Methods In Psychology, 2nd ed. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association (In Press).
This chapter provides an introduction to discourse analysis (DA) and how its focus on the study of language as topic in its own right differs from the ways in which other methods approach qualitative data. We examine how this focus has been taken up specifically in relation to psychological issues and concerns, leading to the development of discursive psychology (DP). In doing so, we trace the origins of DP in ethnomethodology and conversation analysis, and show how these have led to the key features of current DP, in its focus on the action orientation of discourse, discourse as construction, and the situatedness of discourse in use. The chapter outlines the various steps involved in conducting DP research. We discuss elements of research design and selection of data for DP studies, outlining debates between different authors as to the use of naturally-occurring data against reliance on data generated by the researcher for research purposes. This is followed by discussion of how to conduct analysis, how to recognize people’s use of discursive devices and discursive forms, and the organization of talk. The chapter includes examples that illustrate the points being covered and highlight the relevance of DP for understanding the psychological issues in play. We conclude by discussing ways of evaluating DP research and outlining current debates.