Discourse analysis is an interdisciplinary area of study that combines a multitude of theories, methods, and analytical procedures. Approaches to discourses analysis vary according to one’s analytical focus and based on the objective of one’s research. Some approaches tend to pay meticulous attention to the linguistic structure of text and talk (e.g., Fairclough) and others focus more on the external relations of text including the socio-cultural, political and cognitive aspect of discourse (e.g, Van Dijk, Wodak). 

However, the common thread weaving together all of these various discourse analytic approaches is their departure from discourse, that is, language in use. No matter what their focus is, language in use always figures as an important component in doing discourse analysis.

The purpose of my post today is to share with you some excellent books that will introduce you to the methodological and theoretical underpinnings of discourse analysis. These are especially helpful for research students doing or planning to carry out research projects using discourse analysis. 

Anyone else interested in understanding the complex internal and external relations of language and social reality will find these discourse analysis books helpful. The list also features a few books on a particular tradition within discourse studies knows as Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA).

‘his essential handbook is fully updated from start to finish to cover contemporary debates and research literature, covers everything from grammar, narrative, argumentation, cognition and pragmatics to social, political and critical approaches, adds two new chapters on ideology and identity, and puts the student at the center, offering brand new features such as worked examples, sample analyses and recommended further reading.’

‘Drawing on a range of social theorists from Bourdieu to Habermas, as well as his own research, Norman Fairclough’s book presents a form of language analysis with a consistently social perspective. His approach is illustrated by and investigated through a range of real texts, from written texts, to a TV debate about the monarchy and a radio broadcast about the Lockerbie bombing.’

‘Discourse analysis considers how language, both spoken and written, enacts social and cultural perspectives and identities. Assuming no prior knowledge of linguistics, An Introduction to Discourse Analysis examines the field and presents James Paul Gee’s unique integrated approach which incorporates both a theory of language-in-use and a method of research.’

‘This bestselling textbook is the ideal companion to An Introduction to Discourse Analysis: Theory and Method, by leading author, James Paul Gee. Using a practical how-to approach, Gee provides the tools necessary to work with discourse analysis, with engaging step-by-step tasks featured throughout the book. Each tool is clearly explained, along with guidance on how to use it, and authentic data is provided for readers to practice using the tools.’

‘Studying children’s books, newspaper reports, brochures and other texts, as well as photographs and children’s toys, van Leeuwen investigates what can happen when practices are transformed into discourses and provides analytical tools for reconstructing discourses from texts.’

6- Discourse Analysis as Theory and Method 1st Edition by Marianne W Jorgensen, Louise Phillips
‘Discourse Analysis as Theory and Method is a systematic introduction to discourse analysis as a body of theories and methods for social research. It brings together three central approaches, Laclau and Mouffe′s discourse theory, critical discourse analysis and discursive psychology, in order to establish a dialogue between different forms of discourse analysis often kept apart by disciplinary boundaries.’

7- Discourse as Structure and Process by Teun A. van Dijk 
‘The volume covers a huge variety of discourse genres, including written and spoken, and storytelling and argumentation. The chapters also illustrate the necessity to examine the mental processes of the language users: How do people go about producing, understanding and remembering text or talk?’

8- Discourse: A Critical Introduction (Key Topics in Sociolinguistics) by Jan Blommaert 
‘Organized thematically, this introduction outlines the basic principles and moves on to examine the methods and theory of CDA (critical discourse analysis). Topics covered include text and context, language and inequality, choice and determination, history and process, ideology and identity.’

9- The Handbook of Discourse Analysis, by Deborah Schiffrin (Editor), Deborah Tannen (Editor), Heidi E. Hamilton (Editor)
‘The Handbook of Discourse Analysis makes significant contributions to current research and serves as a comprehensive and authoritative guide to the central issues in contemporary discourse analysis.’

‘Accessible yet theoretically rich, this landmark text introduces key concepts and issues in critical discourse analysis and situates these within the field of educational research. The book invites readers to consider the theories and methods of three major traditions in critical discourse studies – discourse analysis, critical discourse analysis, and multimodal discourse analysis — through the empirical work of leading scholars in the field.’

11- How to Do Critical Discourse Analysis: A Multimodal Introduction by David Machin (Author), Andrea Mayr (Author)
‘Using a multimodal approach –graphic, vocal, written – How to do Critical Discourse Analysis guides students to an understanding of how language, power and ideology are negotiated in visual communication and media texts, from magazine and advertising, to YouTube and music videos.’

12- Discourse and Social Change  by Norman Fairclough 
‘This book is a critical introduction to discourse analysis as it is practised in a variety of different disciplines today, from linguistics and sociolinguistics to sociology and cultural studies. The author shows how concern with the analysis of discourse can be combined, in a systematic and fruitful way, with an interest in broader problems of social analysis and social change.’