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Thread: Using Atlas ti re: Critical Discourse Analysis

  1. #1
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    Using Atlas ti re: Critical Discourse Analysis

    Hi Everyone:

    I'm a doctoral student @ the University of British Columbia, and I'm using Atlas ti as one part of a critical discourse analysis (CDA) of national disability policy texts (a la Norman Fairclough and Ruth Wodak). I'd be interested in chatting/corresponding with anyone who is currently or has in the past used Atlas ti as an element in a CDA.

    I can be reached at john.vellacott@gov.ab.ca, or, of course, by a post on this thread.

    Thanks

    John Vellacott

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Vellacott View Post
    Hi Everyone:

    I'm a doctoral student @ the University of British Columbia, and I'm using Atlas ti as one part of a critical discourse analysis (CDA) of national disability policy texts (a la Norman Fairclough and Ruth Wodak). I'd be interested in chatting/corresponding with anyone who is currently or has in the past used Atlas ti as an element in a CDA.

    I can be reached at john.vellacott@gov.ab.ca, or, of course, by a post on this thread.

    Thanks

    John Vellacott
    Hi John,

    I am not using explicitly CDA but am also doing discourse analysis for my dissertation project. I am looking at the discourse on social protest and dissent in China.

    I am just in the beginning of my analysis but I think a software that helps me to remain in control of the huge amount of primary resources I need to look at will be useful. After comparing several products I stuck to atlas not at least for the active forum, the seemingly responsive staff, and the fact that a fully functioning trial version is available.

    So far my experience is that I find the logic of Grounded Theory, after which it seems all qual analysis programs are modeled, has only limited utility for discourse analysis. Particularly I don't think it will be useful for me to code my primary documents so meticulously as grounded theory approaches seem to go advocate.

    So far I am working mainly with the quotes and the memo tools and did not touch codes so far. I also use the families tools to indicate source and time of texts, which is critical for DA.

    So I am very interested in your experience with ATLAS. It seems discourse analysis is not a common topic in discussion on CAQAS - at least as far as my reading in the literature and in this forum indicates. So I hope more people with relevant research project will chime into this discussion and share some experience.

    Christoph

  3. #3
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    Maybe some others who are into discourse analysis might be interested in this evaluation of CAQDAS software (though NOT including Atlas) for discourse analysts. Their final conclusion (which I posted below) is pretty sobering.

    Our trial of CAQDAS had to end when we began the analysis proper. If coding is not the framework for analysis, then there is no place for the software in this process, except as a way of moving between the data and the research notes. Working with texts in CAQDAS had consisted of learning to operate the programmes, to overcome technical problems, and to categorise the news items in terms of codes. Although we were able to use the software to count and display our instances of "smoking gun" coded to show a connection with political scandals, this merely confirmed what we had gathered by simply reading through the stories. Our second set of codes, were, in the end, of little value. Assigning categories such as "actor" and "tone" and types of phrase created a content analysis of the texts that showed who said what. Since our main interest was not so much in who, what, or how often, but in how such descriptions were used, this had brought us no closer to a discourse analysis of the news media. [52]

    Clive SEALE (2000, p.155), in his description of how to use computers in the analysis of "qualitative data", suggests that one of the advantages of CAQDAS is its "speed at handling large volumes of data, freeing the researcher to explore numerous analytic questions" (see also WEITZMAN, 2000). Data management of this kind, according to SEALE, involves sorting texts into categories, or coding segments "which may then be filed and retrieved easily" (ibid.). This "speeding up" of data management should not, of course, be confused with a speeding up of analysis. FIELDING and LEE (1998), for example, argue that there is little evidence to show that using CAQDAS shortens the time spent on analysis (see also MANGABEIRA et al., 2004). [53]

    In our own case the time spent on the problems we encountered with CAQDAS, and fruitless attempts at inconsequential coding that bore no relation to the finished analysis, considerably increased the time we would have spent on the "smoking gun" study had we restricted our research to using the traditional manual methods of examining the data. It had, of course, been useful to locate when the term was used, the political context in which it was used, and how often it was used. It had been useful to highlight sections of text with general coding descriptions, and also to write memos for certain sections of the text. However, all of these tasks could have been done as quickly and as easily using manual methods, with the help, perhaps of the Word function to insert memo "Comments" in the text. [54]

    6.1 Methodological compatibility?

    CAQDAS are useful for practical tasks in general, such as searching for and retrieving data segments. They are also useful for coding segments of text, for maintaining links between codes, and for providing a framework for materials, from which the researcher can make summary judgements. They can, to a very limited extent, be useful in the early stages of a discourse analysis, to hold texts, to search them, and to assist in rudimentary coding, if such is required. They cannot, however, bring about the kind of organization of materials required for an in-depth, in-context analysis of the level required for a detailed analysis. [55]

    By attempting to impose the structure of CAQDAS on our discursive examination of news, we were restricting the scope of our study. This could be avoided either by not using the programmes in discourse analysis at all; or by using them to hold the data, but not to assist analysis. Whether this is worth the time consuming effort of learning to operate the software, and preparing and loading texts, is a matter for each individual project, and researcher. [56]

    For DA the material to be analysed has to be understood in relation to its particular discursive, interactional or rhetorical context. This means that its particularities must be studied—it is not enough to consider these as instances of something more general. For this reason, discourse analysis cannot be defined as a universal set of procedures (ANTAKI et al., 2003) to be formalised into a computer package. Instead, discourse analysis always poses new problems which, in their turn, make new demands upon the analyst. In DA the researcher should be in charge of the analysis from the moment the first document is read. Using CAQDAS with DA can, at best, be more time consuming than useful, and at worst, can steer the analyst away from the task of analysis. [57]

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Vellacott View Post
    Hi Everyone:

    I'm a doctoral student @ the University of British Columbia, and I'm using Atlas ti as one part of a critical discourse analysis (CDA) of national disability policy texts (a la Norman Fairclough and Ruth Wodak). I'd be interested in chatting/corresponding with anyone who is currently or has in the past used Atlas ti as an element in a CDA.

    I can be reached at john.vellacott@gov.ab.ca, or, of course, by a post on this thread.

    Thanks

    John Vellacott
    Hi Everyone:

    Like John (see above)I'm a doctoral student , and I'm using Atlas ti as one part of a critical discourse analysis (CDA) too. If you re using Atlas ti or any other software (eg provalis, wordsmith) you can contact me by a post on this thread.

    Thanks

    sam zga

  5. #5
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    Wink hi

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris_HK View Post
    Hi John,

    I am not using explicitly CDA but am also doing discourse analysis for my dissertation project. I am looking at the discourse on social protest and dissent in China.

    I am just in the beginning of my analysis but I think a software that helps me to remain in control of the huge amount of primary resources I need to look at will be useful. After comparing several products I stuck to atlas not at least for the active forum, the seemingly responsive staff, and the fact that a fully functioning trial version is available.

    So far my experience is that I find the logic of Grounded Theory, after which it seems all qual analysis programs are modeled, has only limited utility for discourse analysis. Particularly I don't think it will be useful for me to code my primary documents so meticulously as grounded theory approaches seem to go advocate.

    So far I am working mainly with the quotes and the memo tools and did not touch codes so far. I also use the families tools to indicate source and time of texts, which is critical for DA.

    So I am very interested in your experience with ATLAS. It seems discourse analysis is not a common topic in discussion on CAQAS - at least as far as my reading in the literature and in this forum indicates. So I hope more people with relevant research project will chime into this discussion and share some experience.

    Christoph
    I am a CDA critical discourse analyst, and felt happy and delighted to find people like you HERE! when I first came to Atlas ti forum i felt lost, not anymore.
    Could you please tell me if you attended a workshop to understand the software, because i think it is complex, not you?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by samzga View Post
    I am a CDA critical discourse analyst, and felt happy and delighted to find people like you HERE! when I first came to Atlas ti forum i felt lost, not anymore.
    Could you please tell me if you attended a workshop to understand the software, because i think it is complex, not you?
    No, I did not. So far I restrict my usage only to very simple tools as mentioned above. I use the software more as a tool to order the flood of original material, rather than as an analytical tool in itself.
    So far I do not see how it should make sense for me to e.g. extensively use the coding function, while my understanding (and therefore my taxonomy) continuously changes and my analytical material is a lot.
    What is your experience?

  7. #7
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    On using ATLAS.ti for CDA

    Dear all,

    I have conducted a (CD-)media analysis in style of GT while making extensive use of the benefits of ATLAS.ti. To order the newspaper articles that served as my data I created one PD for each article and grouped articles in PD-families according to newspaper, year/month of publishing, focus group (Turks vs. Iranians), and genre (sport, culture, science etc.). Because a central research interest was to see if there were differences in news-reporting (content, style, language) between reports on Iranians and Turks (and immigrants from both countries to Austria, respectiveley), I used the WordCruncher tool for all PD's on each of the two focus groups. Then I grouped the words/terms of both resulting word counts into suitable search-strings that would produce meaningful results and that coverd most of the issues that have surfaced thanks to the WordCruncher. I used those search-strings with categories and codes to proceed with an auto-coding. Last but not least I created code-families for themes and set code families and PD-families as filters before creating QT-output. I looked for themes (tropes) that appeared across newspapers, publishing times, topics, focus groups etc. and I noted themes that were bound to any of these variables mentioned above. I also analysed the used iconography and contextualised the news reporting with regard to the newspapers clientele, the main disocurses and other parameters. Using ATLAS.ti helped me a lot to cope with deploying a thoroug GT approach in analysing an enormous amount of articles.

    Best regards
    Julia (Austria)

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