Tag Archive | open university

Discourse Analysis: discussions, debates, resources

I prefer having a bit of diversity among study resources, hence, I searched for some podcasts on discourse analysis. Two particularly useful podcasts have been made available on the Podbean channel ‘discourse and pragmatics, by enrodney where you find a lecture on Mediated Discourse Analysis and another one on The Ethnography of Speaking .

The Speech Accent Archive is a great research tool – but also useful for actors who want to learn a particular accent (certainly not mutually exclusive…and certainly recommended for Daniel Day-Lewis who adopted an Austrian rather than an Italian accent for Nine (2009) which makes him sound like Arnold Schwarzenegger).

Transcription symbols have been provided by John W Du Bois, University of California Santa Barbara in a file that compares symbols and their function and meaning in terms of transcription categories.

Conversation analysis by Charles Antaki, Loughborough University, – in particular lectures 3, 4 and 5 offer valuable summaries of applied key concepts such as adjacency pairs, preferreds and dispreferreds as well as turn-takes .

Nick Llewellyn, University of Warwick, has made interesting and useful tutorial available, the material focuses on transcription of video footage .

Emanuel Schegloff, University of California LA, illustrates a number of detailed talk-in-action sequences which feature overlapping talk, micropauses and aspirations as well as intonations – all transcripts are made available as audio, this is a major plus, especially for those unfamiliar with a specific accent.

The Open University, UK, D843 course forum (i.e. communal area shared by system users) is a bit hard to find as the post-graduate course on discourse analysis does not provide a tutor-moderated forum (as common) but only a group run by students. This kind of forum is not linked to the Studenthome where students could find it easily but is embedded on a deeper level. Here is the chain of clicks required to navigate through:

Option 1:
Go to Open University studenthome > Links > OU Mailbox and discussion forums server
> Directory > search for OUSA D843 – create mail to
Option2:
Go to Open University studenthome > Links > OU Mailbox and discussion forums server > OU Student Association > OUSA signpost – D843

I recommend making the effort as there are comprehensive archives dating back to 2007, they contain discussions and resources – I am sure this will also be an efficient tool in the exam preparation. We recently discussed the meaning of reality as constructed within discourse as well as what constitutes relativism in DA.

Then there was discussion around correct referencing in Harvard style – I shared my favourite online Referencing Guide because the PDF is comprehensive and very well structured.

With regard to relativism I had come across Mette Haagen’s study: Indian Organ Trade; From the Perspective of Weak Cultural Relativism (2005) which uses discourse analysis in order to investigate the impact discourses of human rights and inequality poverty have on the understanding of the existence of the Indian organ trade. It is a fascinating read and a significant topic – explored over 30 pages.

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Semiotics revisited: Absolut

I came across this presentation which applies the key concepts of semiotics to the Absolut Vodka advertising campaign. It’s a very helpful and entertaining illustration of the terms sign, signifier, signified as well as the underlying discourse in a specific context – made available by Rashmi Athlekar on Slideshare – as embedded below. The more comprehensive guide by visual semiotician David Chandler is still one of my favourite sites, the glossary is quite extensive and delivers a more in-depth approach to semiotic studies.

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Discourse analysis: key concepts Wordle

Discourse Analysis – key concepts and aspects in a Wordle, see below.

References
BBC interview with Diana, Princess of Wales, 1995 (transcript)
Garfinkel, Harold
Goffman, Erving
Sheffield Hallam University, UK: list of resources
Wetherell, Margaret

My DA image presentation by Wordle.net. Follow this link to print my DA Wordle or send it to a PDF maker. If you require a screenreader version please email me at bbohlinger [at] googlemail [dot] com and I will forward an RTF or text only in an email to you.

Discourse Analysis Wordle

discourse analysis: key concepts and aspects in a Wordle

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Discourse Analysis: study material, references

I have received online access to all material for Discourse Analysis (key theoretical, philosophical, and methodological debates), the Open University’s post-graduate course in the Social Sciences programme. It’s a 16 week course at 30 credit points and will be my second last course towards the MA degree, with 3 assignments to be submitted electronically and an exam in April 2010. All material has been provided right at the start of the course in PDFs – which can be edited by help of mark-up. Below the links to the study material on Amazon (look inside feature) and material from previous years (PDFs are not editable) which vary only in terms of dates from the current presentation.

There is also a specimen exam paper delivered online but not made accessible to the public by the Open University, further a number of exam papers from previous years available on the OUSA Online Store for purchase. Moreover, preparation notes, a guide for submitting electronic assignments (time of submission will change in December from 12am to 12noon) and the assignment booklet itself.

Further required readings:

  • Fairclough, N. and Wodak, R. (1997) ‘Critical discourse analysis’ in van Dijk, Teun A. (ed.) Discourse as Social Interaction, vol. 2, London/Thousand Oaks/New Delhi: Sage, pp. 258–84.
  • Locke, A. and Edwards, D. (2003) ‘Bill and Monica: memory, emotion and normativity in Clinton’s Grand Jury testimony’, British Journal of Social Psychology, vol. 42, part 2, pp. 239–56.
  • Pomerantz, A. and Fehr, B.J. (1997) ‘Conversation analysis: an approach to the study of social action as sense making practices’ in van Dijk, Teun A. (ed.) Discourse as Social Interaction,vol.2, London/Thousand Oaks/New Delhi: Sage Publications, pp. 64–91.
  • Potter, J. (2005) ‘Making psychology relevant’, Discourse and Society, vol. 16, no. 5, pp. 739–47.
  • van Dijk, Teun A. (1992) ‘Discourse and the denial of racism’, Discourse and Society, vol. 3, no.1, pp. 87–118

Research Methods – the useful material

Following on from my previous two posts, here is a list of very useful material I recommend for studying Social Research Methods including

  • research strategies and design,
  • literature review,
  • ethics and politics of research
  • sampling,
  • qualitative and quantitative methods,
  • as well as data analysis,
  • writing up social research and presentation of findings.

References:
BRYMAN, A. (3rd ed.) (2008) Social Research Methods. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Resource centre including Flashcards, Multiple Choice Questions etc. as well as some hands-on Excel data analysis/tutorials. More useful links in relation to each chapter to external sites: weblinks by chapter. The book is also listed on Amazon, where you can search inside: Bryman’s Social Research Methods on Amazon.

DE VAUS, D. (5th ed.) (2002) Surveys in Social Research. Abingdon: Routledge.
de Vaus’s Surveys in Social Research on Amazon. This edition comes with a massive number of weblinks which de Vaus has listed on his site. Further de Vaus links, site set up by an OU student: who publishes under Ariadne and also some handy notes related to the OU’s DT840 study guide .

LEE, Carl et al. , Central Michigan University.
Tutorials and Movie Clips (based on SPSS 9.0 and 10.0) with transcripts

LEVESQUE, Raynald in Montreal, Canada SPSS tools

OPEN UNIVERSITY (OU)
OpenLearn SPSS is a step-by-step online tutorial which covers adding variables, obtaining descriptive statistics, correlation, independent t-tests, and paired samples t-tests.

ROWNTREE, D (1981) Statistics without Tears: An Introduction for Non-Mathematicians. London: Penguin Books.
a classic on Amazon, search inside.

SEALE, C. (ed.) (2004) Social Research Methods – A Reader. London: Routledge.

SOPER, Daniel offers a free calculator for multiple regression as well as a great overview of numerous concepts on his Free Statistics Calculators site which is an excellent online support source for last minute revision, pop-up windows will save you time.

TROCHIM, William M.K. Social Research Methods is another incredibly helpful site. Well structured and illustrated.

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, Los Angeles (UCLA)
SPSS Version 15.0 Learning Module includes T-tests, Chi-square tests, correlation, ANOVA (Analysis of Variance) as well as a detailed, well-structured discussion and explanation of Regression among their SPSS Webbooks.

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Research Methods – DT840 and beyond, review of course books

As announced in my earlier post on Research Methods and Skills
I am providing here a brief review of the books which present the set books in my current post-graduate course on research skills and statistics, i.e. the Open University post-graduate course DT840 (DTZY840). The assessment (5 assignments and an exam) is based on the following materials:

LE VOI, M., Sapsford, R., Potter, S., Green, A., Redman, P. and Yates S. (2008) DT840 Course and Study Guide. Milton Keynes: The Open University

POTTER, S (2nd ed.) (2006) Doing Postgraduate Research. London: Sage.
This set book by Stephen Potter – OU Professor, specialist in transport strategies, and course team members – is available on Amazon. There is also a companion which contains related links and chapter excerpts: Potter companion on Sage which, unfortunately, appears to be neglected: 3 listed links out of 4, supposed to connect to ethical frameworks, turn out to be broken. Some of the course assessment is based on the online sources which you will need to find elsewhere. I have listed ethical guidelines in a separate box on the right hand within this blog.

SAPSFORD, R. (2nd ed.) (2007) Survey Research. London: Sage.
Also this one is available on Amazon, interested readers can: search inside. The reviews on Amazon are throughout very negative and the reviewers have gone into great detail with their substantiated critique. It’s helpful to read them and keep in mind the following problems with the material:

  • Lack of a glossary
  • Minimalist link list and Index
  • Key concepts such as triangulation not mentioned
  • Discusses online research settings only very briefly, insufficient
  • References to chapters/figures/boxes/tables rather than to pages
  • 1st edition had attracted equally negative reviews
  • 16 pages contain substantial errors: in formulae, explanations of concepts, tables are wrongly labelled etc. Luckily the OU provides a list of corrections, but it’s not comprehensive and you will need to constantly check and correct.
  • Carelessly compiled bibliography: referencing appears to follow random systems and lacks consistency (the OU prefers Harvard referencing style also in this course).
  • Unclear structure with a wordy approach

[N.B. To make matters worse: NO previous exams available – as common for the majority of courses on OUSA site, yet 1 exam specimen paper is delivered by OU.]
Here is a site which lists Sapsford’s content without providing any evaluation: Sapsford content, overview by OU student.

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Statistics makes me cry – Andy Field makes statistics sexy

„Statistics makes me cry“ – how many times have I seen this over the past months? Too often, I decided Friday night, when I submitted the last piece of coursework for the Research Skills and Survey Methods Master’s course (DT840 / DTZY840 at the Open University which is a compulsory course for the MSc in Human Geography Research Methods, MSc in Management and Business Research Methods MSc in Psychological Research Methods, MSc in Research Methods for Educational Technology MSc in Social Research Methods, MSc in Technology Strategy Research).

With only the exam to go, in October, I felt it is time to write a brief review and summarise the sources I have been using in order to make this least of inspiring courses more useful. Good news first: the course contributed significantly to me growing up as an independent student who critically evaluates sources. I also learned to make hard choices: do I need to gain marks only or will I need to understand the concepts in depth? And hence, perhaps disagree with the course authors which may make me loose marks on the short term but gain on the long term, in future projects. Sadly, it seems, students still have to make such kind of choices, in my case that included discussing with the staff tutor a change of the allocated associate lecturer.

The bad news: at more than GBP1300 you expect a minimum of quality of teaching material – prepare yourself for disappointment, unless you spend a little more on secondary literature and some additional time on the internet. Make the most of it – and enjoy the inspiration that comes with leaving the tightly demarcated patch called „you won’t need to know this for the next paper, exam etc“. There is no rule that says you cannot grow more independent before having finished your PhD.

So, above, in a separate post I will publish a list of resources I have been using with comments and links, hoping you will find it useful or add whatever you think should be added.

And before I forget: my deepest thanks to Dr Andy Field who helped me see the usefulness of statistics, who made me laugh and who made me believe that also writing a statistics book can be real fun (according to all the photos he included and all the references to the 1970 and 1980s). No doubt, he’s heard that before. And he’s been officially rewarded for his teaching talent. I don’t take enthusiastic lecturers for granted, as you may have noticed…

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