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The Discursive Turn in Policy Analysis and the Validation of Policy Stories

Prior, Lindsay, Hughes, David, Peckham, Stephen (2012) The Discursive Turn in Policy Analysis and the Validation of Policy Stories. Journal of Social Policy, 41 (2). pp. 271-289. ISSN 0047-2794. (doi:10.1017/S0047279411000821) (KAR id:29795)


This paper is concerned with the language of policy documents in the field of health

care, and how ‘readings’ of such documents might be validated in the context of a narrative

analysis. The substantive focus is on a comparative study of UK health policy documents (N =

20) as produced by the various assemblies, governments and executives of England, Scotland,

Wales and Northern Ireland during the period 2000–09. Following the identification of some

key characteristics of narrative structure the authors indicate how text-mining strategies allied

with features of semantic and network analysis can be used to unravel the basic elements of

policy stories and to facilitate the presentation of data in such a way that readers can verify the

strengths (and weaknesses) of any given analysis – with regard to claims concerning, say, the

presence, absence or relative importance of key ideas and concepts. Readers can also ‘see’ how

the different components of any one story might fit together, and to get a sense of what has been

excluded from the narrative as well as what has been included, and thereby assess the reliability

and validity of interpretations that have been placed upon the data.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1017/S0047279411000821
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research > Centre for Health Services Studies
Depositing User: Tony Rees
Date Deposited: 05 Jul 2012 08:22 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Nov 2021 10:07 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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