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Applying Halliday's linguistic theory in qualitative data analysis


To, V and Le, Q and Le, T, Applying Halliday's linguistic theory in qualitative data analysis, Qualitative Research Journal, 15, (2) pp. 135-146. ISSN 1448-0980 (2015) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

© 2015 Emerald Group Publishing

DOI: doi:10.1108/QRJ-11-2014-0059


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to discuss the usefulness of Halliday’s linguistic theory known as Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL) in analysing qualitative data. In order to do this, it initially presents an overview of SFL, and then explains how and why four linguistic features namely, nominalisation, grammatical metaphor, thematic structure and lexical density are useful in examining qualitative data. The paper also discusses three social metafunctions of language known as the ideational, the interpersonal and the textual metafunctions which are significant for understanding and interpreting texts.

Design/methodology/approach: This paper employs SFL as the main theoretical framework to discussing the usefulness of this linguistics theory in qualitative data analysis.

Findings: SFL can be seen as a paradigm shift in linguistic theory moving away from the traditional focus on syntax to the inclusion of the interface between language and pragmatics. The focus of SFL is language in use. It deals with texts in social contexts, which is the main focus in qualitative data analysis. Thus, SFL provides both research tools and theoretical insights for understanding and interpreting texts.

Originality/value: This paper provides significant insights into language which are crucial for understanding and interpreting texts in social contexts.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:grammatical metaphor, Halliday’s linguistic theory, lexical density, metafunctions, nominalization, qualitative data analysis, systemic functional linguistics, theme-rheme
Research Division:Education
Research Group:Other education
Research Field:Other education not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Education and Training
Objective Group:Other education and training
Objective Field:Other education and training not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:To, V (Dr Vinh To)
UTAS Author:Le, Q (Dr Quynh Le)
UTAS Author:Le, T (Dr Thao Le)
ID Code:100232
Year Published:2015
Web of Science® Times Cited:1
Deposited By:UTAS Centre for Rural Health
Deposited On:2015-05-07
Last Modified:2018-04-05

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