Down the ranking of criteria when seeking a

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Principles of Information Systems
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Chapter 9 / Exercise 2
Principles of Information Systems
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down the ranking of criteria when seeking a counsellor, according to sexual orientation and outness. These descriptive statistics do not seek to show ‘a cause and effect relationship or an association between variables’ (Beals & Peplau, 2001, p. 2) nor, in the present case, can they be generalised to all same-sex couples seeking counselling. However, the descriptive statistics, together with the qualitative analysis, provide a snapshot picture in an area where there is little existing research. 3.4.3 Discourse analysis Discourse analysis developed against a background of positivism in psychology (McLeod, 2011) drawing on developments within other disciplines that explored language ‘as a social performance’ rather than an internal measurement of an external reality (Willig, 2001, p. 87). It is underpinned by a social constructionist worldview that there is no one single reality, but a multiple number of truths (Potter & Wetherell, 1987; Taylor & Ussher, 2001; Willig, 1999b). However, alternative views have been expressed that allow for some reality outside of the discourse, that is, ‘extra-discursive’ factors (Langdridge & Hagger-Johnson, 2009, p. 441). Parker (1992), for example, suggests that there is a value in paying attention to the backdrop of the discourse so that any reality is ‘grounded in the material structures beyond language’ (cited in Langdridge & Hagger-Johnson, 2009, p. 441).
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Principles of Information Systems
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Chapter 9 / Exercise 2
Principles of Information Systems
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Chapter 3: Methodology 112 Different forms of discourse analysis have emerged in the form of discursive psychology and Foucauldian discourse analysis. The study of the use of language in discursive psychology can illuminate how people see themselves and how they choose to present themselves (Wetherell, Taylor, & Yates, 2001). This, in turn, can be linked to Goffman’s ideas of how people use ‘sign vehicles’ (Goffman, 1990, p. 13) to convey the image they choose. Moreover, language, as understood in discourse analysis, is an active process (Wetherell, 2001a) rarely used to describe things (Potter & Wetherell, 1987). Rather, the discourse is used to achieve certain outcomes that relate to blame, responsibility and status (Dallos & Vetere, 2005) with the context an important feature. In contrast, Foucauldian discourse analysis can focus on issues of power within organisations (Dallos & Vetere, 2005; Willig, 2008), and the ways in which language ‘conspires to legitimate and perpetuate unequal power relationships’ (Willig, 1999b, p. 10). For example, as we saw in Chapter 2, in discourse analysis with counsellors (Evans & Barker, 2007) or students (Clarke, 2005), liberal talk can be seen as a means of upholding the heterosexual status quo. Potter and Wetherell (1995) concisely describe these two approaches as ‘discourse practices’ and ‘discourse resources’, that is, the ways in which people use language and the discourses available to them.

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