Skip to main content Skip to navigation

ET231-15 Analysing written discourse

Applied Linguistics
Undergraduate Level 2
Module leader
Sue Wharton
Credit value
Module duration
10 weeks
100% coursework
Study locations
  • University of Warwick main campus, Coventry Primary
  • Distance or Online Delivery
Introductory description

Why are some texts easy to read and others not so easy? What makes a piece of writing persuasive? What can you learn about the ideology of an organisation from the texts it produces? In this module you will learn how to analyse the function of written and electronic texts in detail. You will become familiar with a wide range of text-analytical frameworks and techniques, applying them to various types of data, You will be introduced to a range of approaches to theorising the links between texts and the society of which they are a part, so that you can understand and discuss how society influences discourse and vice versa.

Module web page

Module aims

The module aims to teach students to use a wide range of contemporary approaches suitable for the analysis of discourse as linked to social setting.
This module will contribute primarily to the achievement of Course Aims #1, #3, #5, #8, #9, #10 and #11:

  1. Provide a thorough grounding in the theories and research findings related to linguistics and the English Language.
  2. Enable students to analyse language in general and the English language in particular at every level from the word to its place in society at large.
  3. Provide a solid foundation in relevant research skills and methods both quantitative and qualitative.
  4. Prepare students for future employment, and for further study or training, by developing intellectual acuity, flexibility and independence, and by providing opportunity for the development of transferable skills
  5. Enable students to undertake an in-depth study of issues relating to English language and linguistics.
  6. Enable students to develop the ability to learn independently and to gain intellectual breadth and flexibility.
  7. To provide high-quality teaching informed by research at an appropriate level for students choosing to pursue careers as teachers in secondary schools, or as future teachers and researchers in higher education.
Outline syllabus

This is an indicative module outline only to give an indication of the sort of topics that may be covered. Actual sessions held may differ.

The module will cover the following broad topic areas.

  • Lexis in discourse: collocation, colligation and semantic association (via e.g. Lexical Priming Theory)
  • Discourse and representation (via e.g. Transitivity)
  • Evaluation in text and discourse (via e.g. Appraisal Theory)
  • The organisation of written discourse (via e.g. Genre Theory )
  • Discourse and identity (interactive and representational)

All of these areas will be applied to a wide range of data types and where possible will be explored using both qualitative and quantitative tools.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the module, students should be able to:

  • Upon successful completion of this course, students should:• Be familiar with a wide range of discourse-analytical frameworks and techniques• Be able to critically apply these to a range of discourse data• Understand, in depth, a range of approaches to theorising the reciprocal links between discourse and society• Be able to use these to analyse and discuss the social context and function of specific examples of discourse data.
Indicative reading list

Anderson, W. & Corbett J. (2009). Exploring English with online corpora. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Baker, P. & Egbert, J. (2016). Triangulating methodological approaches in corpus linguistics. London: Routledge.
Bloor, T. & Bloor, M. (2004). The functional analysis of English. 2nd ed. London: Arnold.
Eggins, S. (2004). An introduction to systemic functional linguistics. 2nd ed. London: Pinter.
Fairclough, N. (2012). Critical discourse analysis: the critical study of language. London: Routledge.
Halliday, M.A.K. & Matthiessen, C. (2013). An introduction to functional grammar. 4th
Edition. London: Hodder & Stoughton Educational.
Hoey, M. (2005). Lexical priming :A new theory of words and language. London: Routledge.
Hoey, M. (2017). An introduction to discourse analysis. London: Pearson.
Martin, J. R., & Rose, D. (2003). Working with discourse: Meaning beyond the clause. New York: Continuum.
Martin, J. R., & White, P.R.R. (2005). The language of evaluation: Appraisal in English. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Paltridge, B. (2012). Discourse analysis: an introduction. London: Continuum
Sarangi, S. and Slembrouck, S. (1996). Language, bureaucracy and social control. Harlow: Longman.
Wodak, R. (2015). Methods of critical discourse studies (Introducing qualitative methods series). London: Sage
Woods, N. (2006). Describing discourse: a practical guide to discourse analysis. London: Routledge

View reading list on Talis Aspire

Research element

The assignment requires students to, among other things, research genre conventions for a specified text type in a specified context.


Analysis of written text from a basic perspective of intended communicative purpose is integral to many humanities and social science disciplines.


The skills and approaches taught in the module are relevant to the examination of intercultural communication.

Subject specific skills

…Carry out analyses of text and discourse data using appropriate quantitative and qualitative methods;
… Understand and explain key concepts, models and research findings in written language analysis at a range of levels: lexical, clausal, textual, discoursal.
…Demonstrate responsiveness to the central role of language in the construal of (social) reality.
… Use established frameworks to describe texts derived from a variety of social contexts;
… Understand the main technical frameworks typically used in discourse analytical research;
… Use appropriate specialised software to conduct quantitative investigations of large sets of texts;
… Elucidate the communicative purposes of texts and the techniques through which such purposes are attempted to be achieved.

Transferable skills

… Plan and manage time on data-based tasks;
… Work effectively with others in group tasks;
...Find and evaluate relevant previous research; extrapolate its relevance to new data;
… Choose relevant conceptual frameworks for the analysis of different data types;
… Use appropriate software to assist with data analysis;
… Integrate quantitative and qualitative methods to understand and explain discourse patterns across sets of texts;
… Apply descriptive frameworks to real-life data;
… Critically evaluate key concepts, models and research;
findings appropriate to the elucidation of different discourse types;
… Critically evaluate the value of conceptual frameworks in a range of traditions to specific research aims;
… Choose appropriate discourse-analytical frameworks to examine specific texts .

Study time

Type Required
Lectures 2 sessions of 2 hours (3%)
Seminars (0%)
Tutorials (0%)
Supervised practical classes 11 sessions of 1 hour (8%)
Online learning (scheduled sessions) 6 sessions of 2 hours (9%)
Private study 103 hours (79%)
Total 130 hours
Private study description

Reading subject materials
Homework tasks


No further costs have been identified for this module.

You must pass all assessment components to pass the module.

Assessment group A
Weighting Study time
Analysis and discussion of written text 100% 20 hours

Analysis and discussion of written text. Students will be provided with a text and required to analyse it from specified lexical and systemic functional perspectives; they will be asked to comment critically on how it achieves its communicative purposes.

Feedback on assessment

Written feedback on the assignment will be provided on the Centre's standard feedback sheets, which conform to Faculty regulations. Additional detailed feedback may be provided via a range of methods.


This module is Core for:

  • Year 2 of UETA-Q310 in English Language and Linguistics
  • Year 2 of UETA-Q311 in English Language and Linguistics (with Intercalated year)