Exercise 3: Applying a critical discursive psychology approach to naturally-occurring data

The transcripts of interviews with ex-soldiers constitute researcher-generated data. However, discursive psychology and critical discursive psychology approaches tend to favour the use of ‘naturally-occurring data’. That term refers to data that are not directly elicited by the researcher (for example, transcripts of telephone calls to helplines or social media posts where the researcher has searched for and gathered existing posts).

In Exercise 1 in Chapter 5, you were invited to gather data from online newspaper discussion forums about a particular aspect of a controversial issue at the moment or in the recent past. That exercise took you through the data gathering process systematically, working with the example of resistance to public health measures that were introduced in response to the Covid-19 pandemic that began in 2020. If you did that exercise, you will now have a set of naturally-occurring data. You are invited to gain experience with another approach to discourse analysis and to apply a critical discursive psychology approach to that data set.

Read about a critical discursive psychology approach in Chapter 15 in the book. You will find a subsection there on ‘Critical discursive psychology’ that presents key references and some examples. Table 15.2 in the chapter presents Locke and Budds’ (2020) stages of critical discursive psychology. Find out more about those stages by reading Locke and Budds’ (2020) article. Then apply those stages to your data set. Some stages will be more relevant than others to your specific data set.