The case for critical realist discourse analysis as a viable method in discursive work

Sarah C. E. Riley, Wendy Sims-Schouten, Carla Willig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this reply to Speer's response to our paper we argue that in presenting our method for doing critical realist discourse analysis (CRDA) our paper provided a systematic method from which to do CRDA that was timely, rigorous and significantly different from conversation analysis (CA) in its examination of material practices. We note that our paper addressed a methodological, not epistemological, issue and make a call for a commitment within the discourse analytic community to a valuing of the breadth of methods and approaches in discursive work. We recognize the importance of CA, but also the various versions of discourse analysis that are used in psychology which draw on techniques used in CA, but are not tied to the CA epistemology. These approaches examine normative patterns of language as at least in part a reflection of social relations of power in a given social economic and political/historical context. We conclude by arguing that diversity in research methods is essential. From this perspective, then, CA has an important role to play within discursive psychology, but so do other forms of discursive work, including the CRDA method that we offered in our paper.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-144
Number of pages8
JournalTheory & Psychology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2007


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