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Investigating representation in digital discourses

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/Proceedings - With ISBN/ISSNChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

Publication date22/05/2024
Host publicationAnalysing Representation: A Corpus and Discourse Textbook
Place of PublicationLondon
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This chapter discusses the specific aspects of analysing representation in digital discourses. It starts by highlighting the false dichotomy between online and offline communication and the heterogeneity of digital discourses. The chapter draws attention to the factors shaping representation in digital spaces, such as the democratisation of digital discourses, platform algorithms and “platform imperialism”, users’ social practices and the multimodal nature of digital media. The chapter features three case studies where researchers have combined discourse analysis with corpus linguistics techniques and incorporated analyses of different semiotic resources to study representations on influential digital platforms. The practical activities in the chapter pay particular attention to the variety of semiotic resources that contribute to digital discourses. These activities offer demonstrations of ways of collecting and annotating digital data, identifying various semiotic modes and analysing them. The chapter goes on to discuss challenging aspects of the analysis of digital discourses, namely the use of automated analysis tools, the temporality of digital data and the ethics of research on digital spaces. Finally, the chapter provides recommendations for further reading and detailed comments on practical activities.