Results of the Spring School ‘DiscourseNet’
Students of the master’s programme in ‘Political Linguistics’ have taken part in the spring school DiscourseNet ‘Critical usage of Qualitative, Quantitative and Mixed-Method Software in Discourse Studies’, held at the University of Navarra, Spain.
The school was organized by the international community engaged in discourse research. The event focused on the study of tools for discourse analysis. Nadezhda Alexandrova, Ekaterina Shcherbakova and Irina Mironova, second-year students of the programme in Political Linguistics spoke to us about their participation in this international educational project.
It was both pleasant and exciting at the same time to be the only graduate students among all the PhD students and doctors at this spring school.
The fact that our whole team took part in an event of this level is amazing, especially if we consider the geographical factor – participants from many countries, from Brazil to Sri Lanka, came to this school. We were all delighted when the organizers confirmed our participation.
According to the organizers, the applications were accepted because the field of our master’s programme - political linguistics – perfectly matched the topic of this summer school. The organizers had paid special attention to our programme and its focus on the discourse analysis when selecting the participants.
The fact that in Russia, and specifically in Nizhny Novgorod, students can study a master’s programme in political linguistics aroused great interest among the organizers and other participants. Someone even told me that now the whole world is doing nothing but studying the language of Russian politics, and it’s surprising that we have the opportunity to study it from the inside.
The educational part of the event turned out to be very useful to us, we learned about many tools for quantitative, qualitative and multimodal analysis. Although we knew a lot before the school, It was nice to confirm that you are already skilled in some areas: you know what Atlas.ti is and how to use it, or for example, you know that many researchers use Antconc as well as you.
We looked forward to expanding our research range of interests. The University of Navarra made a good impression on us in general. It is located on the outskirts of the city, in a park. The place is very quiet and peaceful, the atmosphere is just right for meditation and mental work. During the school the participants felt like a close-knit team, and we spent most of our time together, as we had classes from 9 am to 7 pm.
In general, the European academic environment turned out to be very comfortable and friendly, though this might merely seem so because of the informal character of the spring school, the situation may be different at official conferences.
I would also like to note that it is very important that the event was dedicated to discourse analysis, as it is discussed in completely different research areas such as linguistics, sociology, etc., and researchers often fail to find common ground. So it is very important that there is a platform where different researchers specialising in different areas are able to talk about the same topic. They have the opportunity to discuss what they mean by discourse. I would like to see more events like this in Russia.
And of course, we would like to thank the school organisers – the DiscourseNet team - for the opportunity to participate in this event and for the high quality of the organization.
I would also like to thank the lecturers and academic supervisors of our master's programme for their support. Our knowledge in the field of discourse analysis helped us to feel comfortable at this international event.