Training programme

Analysing Discourse: Theories and Methods - 6 ECTS

The course ‘Analyzing Discourse – Theory and Methods’ (CPT 56306, 6 ECTS) combines lectures from experienced experts (with Dvora Yanow, Tamara Metze, Marleen Buizer as constants) with groupwork, personal consultation, and a gradual development of a personal portfolio of discourse approaches. Over the years, the course received positive feedback because of the way of working, the possibility to get to know other students interested in discourse, and the option to bring in and explore a self-chosen topic. Some students developed a manuscript for a journal article based on the insights they developed in the course. The course is designed for PhD researchers, or for advanced MSc students with some background in critical, social and/or political theory who are thinking of career in research or teaching.

We will again be offering the course online because quite a few international students have shown an interest in the past years. The opportunity to participate during a period of fieldwork or from your home or office elsewhere has shown to have the enriching advantage of bringing together many quite different stories and experiences.

Organised by Wageningen School of Social Sciences (WASS)

Mon 5 September 2022 until Thu 13 October 2022

Room This course will be given online


The fixed times: Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11.40 to 13.30.

Learning outcomes

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:

1.     Describe different theoretical approaches to discourse analysis;

2.     Evaluate the application of different discourse theories in empirical research;

3.     Justify methodological choices in empirical discourse analysis and explain their implications;

4.     Apply techniques of discourse analysis to a contemporary research problem;

5.     Critically reflect and assess the process of data analysis and interpretation in discourse analysis. 


Week 1 will give an overview of the course and of different theories and approaches to discourse analysis, and explain their grounding in interpretivism. Weeks 2-6 will provide students with an in-depth training in key techniques for the empirical analysis of discourse. A lecture by an expert is followed by an in-class discussion and introduction to the practice of discourse analysis through 'workshop talks' that include the expert. Students will analyse discourse on topics of their choice, apply various approaches and present them to each other, in small groups. They will gradually, over the weeks, compose an individual portfolio of different approaches to discourse analysis and (in week 7 and 8) reflect on the particular possibilities and limitations of each of them for obtaining an in-depth understanding of a case of their own choice.

Assumed knowledge on:

At least 12 credits of communication or social theory courses at MSc level, or a completed MSc degree in a social science discipline. The course is designed for students with solid previous knowledge in social science theory and social science research methods.

Continuation courses:

MSc Thesis in any of the assigned programs, e.g. CPT-83133, CPT-83136; PhD project.


The final assignment is a composite portfolio of 5 weekly submitted chapters (weeks 2 – 6) and one extra evaluating chapter (100%). Participation in group activities (n=2-4) is compulsory. The grades are valid until and including the academic year following on the year in which they were obtained.


Discursive psychology/Conversation Analysis (Edwards, Heritage, Potter, Te Molder); Frame analysis (Gray, Aarts, Dewulf, Macnaghten); Storytelling (Boje, Yannis, Czarniawska); Metaphor analysis (Schon, Yanow); Foucauldian approaches (Foucault, Griggs, Howarth, Glynos, T. Richardson, Sharp).