Discourse analysis means doing analysis: a critique of six analytic shortcomings

A number of ways of treating talk and textual data are identified which fall short of discourse analysis. They are: (1) under-analysis through summary; (2) under-analysis through taking sides; (3) under-analysis through over-quotation or through isolated quotation; (4) the circular identification of discourses and mental constructs; (5) false survey; and (6) analysis that consists in simply spotting features. We show, by applying each of these to an extract from a recorded interview, that none of them actually analyse the data. We hope that illustrating shortcomings in this way will encourage further development of rigorous discourse analysis in social psychology.