In 2011, the English Language Teaching Unit at the University of Leicester organised an event focusing on how to improve the experience international students have when studying at high education institutions in the UK. The PIM (Professional Interest Meeting) was part of the BALEAP calendar of events and counted on presentations from a number of academics and EAP tutors from different universities across the country.
The interested it generated at the time and the quality of the presentations made some of us think that perhaps there would be space for an academic publication that could serve as a means of discussing and sharing ideas in the field. This idea is now materialising in the form of the International Student Experience Journal (ISEJ) .
The ISEJ is a peer-reviewed online publication for those involved in the field of researching, teaching and providing services to international students in higher education in the UK and other English speaking countries. The Journal links the everyday concerns of university staff including academics, researchers and EAP practitioners with insights gained from related academic disciplines such as applied linguistics, education, psychology, and sociology.
To get to know more about the publication and submit your paper, please visit the ISEJ website
The answer to the question posed by the title of this post is, ‘Yes’, and ‘No’. Researchers working on both fields have a number of positions on the issue, from the ones who defend traditional forms of ethnography (Walford, 2009) to the ones who attempt to integrate both ethnography and discourse analysis in their practices (Rampton et al, 2006). Some, pragmatically, would answer, ‘It depends.’ Before trying to answer such a question perhaps it would be advisable to consider a number of factors on which the answer depends. First of all, it depends largely on one’s understanding of the theoretical principles and acceptable practices within both traditions. Secondly, it may depend on what your research questions are and the social phenomena you want to investigate. Last but not least, we have to consider that whatever answers individual researchers may give to this question in the process of carrying out their studies, their answer will be assessed and evaluated by their own research communities and the traditions within which they work. Thus, it also depends on historical developments in the field of academic research as a whole. It is very unlikely that there will ever be a single, unified answer to such a question.
In this paper I compare and contrast some principles and practices that characterise more traditional forms of ethnographic research to the theoretical and practical notions that inform discourse analysis. I then briefly examine the work of researchers who seek to actively combine both methods under what they name linguistic ethnography.
Read the full paper Are ethnography and discourse analysis compatible?
The original article was written in March 2010 as one of my MRes assignments.
Paraphrasing Eagleton (1991:1), nobody has yet come up with a single adequate definition of discourse analysis, and this paper will be not exception. This is not because researchers in the field are remarkable for their low intelligence, but because the term ‘discourse analysis’ encompasses a wide range of research practices, not all of which are compatible with each other.
This article is a mapping exercise. It attempts to give readers an overview of the central assumptions of different discourse research traditions. It does not have the pretention of being a detailed map; it will only outline the terrain and point to some landmarks, which in our case, are the core theoretical principles that underpin each tradition and also possible definitions of some key terms used in discourse analytical research.
Click on the link to read and download the full paper Discourse analysis_overview and a sample case
The original article was written in January 2010 as one of my MRes assignments.