Fazit meines Studienprojekts

Letze Woche habe ich das Studienprojekt (meine Pilotstudie) abgegeben; nachdem ich die erste und zweite Analyse verbloggt habe, will ich euch mein Fazit nicht vorenthalten. In den nächsten Wochen wird die Masterarbeit ruhen, da ich noch ein paar andere Dinge zu tun habe, allen voran mein erstes Staatsexamen. Dazu kommt aber auch noch ein Blogbeitrag, denn auch da wird es um Homosexualität und Geschichte gehen.

During the completion of this paper, I realised a number of issues that will have to be addressed before or during the finalisation of my M.A. thesis. Most importantly, I will have to compile another corpus with the redefined query terms. There might be obscure terms I missed to denote homosexuality, but I am confident I will cover a very large, representative portion of the discourse on homosexuality. As I mentioned above, the focus of my research must be what has been said about homosexuality during the early years of the HIV/ AIDS health crisis and not what has been said in general during this period.

It will also be central that I consider employing additional software for linguistic analysis, most prominently WordSmith and WMatrix, in addition to AntConc and its accompanying programmes. Especially WMatrix will be helpful in close comparison of sub-corpora, especially when looking at different time points of the discourse (e.g. comparing 1981 to 1986).

Also, it will be very important to find adequate secondary literature. Most academic texts dealing with discourse make a point how fuzzy, even over-stretched the term discourse is in current academic discussions. This means that many texts will not necessarily deal with my field of interest, and also it will necessitate that I give a clear and concise definition of my understanding of discourse. The current stat e of my definition is given in this paper.

As I mentioned, the choice of texts used for this paper was only partly because of its suitability. Copyright laws and licensing of databases on the one hand, and the non-existence of transcribed audio and audio-visual material on the other hand, were also contributing factors to the compilation of material. It can only be hoped that better technological tools (reliable, automatic sound-to-digital-text transcription, reliable fast OCR-scanning) and change towards open-access databases will enable studies with different foci.

After some initial pilot analysis, I am confident I can perform a more general analysis of the discourse on homosexuality during the beginning of the HIV/ AIDS crisis. I will, however, need to formalise the steps of analysis and ground my methodology more firmly on the variety of secondary literature available on CADS and CDA.


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