Applying Critical Discourse Analysis in Health Policy Research: Case Studies in Regional, Organizational, and Global Health

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Critical discourse analysis (CDA) is a promising methodology for policy research in nursing. As a critical theoretical methodology, researchers use CDA to analyze social practices and language use in policies to examine whether such policies may promote or impede social transformation. Despite the widespread use of CDA in other disciplines such as education and sociology, nursing policy research employing CDA methodology is sparse. To advance CDA use in nursing science, it is important to outline the overall research strategies and describe the steps of CDA in policy research. This article describes, using exemplar case studies, how nursing and health policy researchers can employ CDA as a methodology. Three case studies are provided to discuss the application of CDA research methodologies in nursing policy research: (a) implementation of preconception care policies in the Zhejiang province of China, (b) formation and enactment of statewide asthma policy in Washington state of the United States, and (c) organizational implementation of employee antibullying policies in hospital systems in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. Each exemplar details how CDA guided the examination of policy within specific contexts and social practices. The variations of the CDA approaches in the three exemplars demonstrated the flexibilities and potentials for conducting policy research grounded in CDA. CDA provides novel insights for nurse researchers examining health policy formation, enactment, and implementation.

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Policy, Politics & Nursing Practice



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