Week 2: Getting ahead

Week 2 was a good one as I got ten days into my project, a third of the way there! This week had more challenges than the last, but it has made a lasting impression as I now have an idea of what to do next...

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Day 1:

I was able to write up all my notes on Levitas’ work today and make a comprehensive list of the strengths and weaknesses in her arguments which will enable me to ensure my project covers any areas left untouched. This has been one of the first pieces of analysis I have had to do on the project, but so far it is going well.

Tomorrow’s job is the writing up of my findings for context and reference later. While the 1000 words I plan to write may not be used in the academic report, I feel that it will allow me to have more linear thought process when writing up my article- but also may help to jog my memory of what I have read and analysed at the beginning of these six weeks.


Day 2:

I have been able to produce a 800 word write up of Levitas’ work today- something which has been at the top of my priorities for a while. In the write up, I have included context of the basics of Levitas’ work, including the three discourses she notes and the context of the New Labour period, enabling it to be accessible to those without an advanced understanding of the New Labour government.

This has also been hugely helpful to myself to understand exactly what Levitas argues, and I think this will feed into my academic report and background information section I need to produce here.


Day 3:

Today was more of a planning for the future of the project day, as I looked for template journals to use to start to plan my own structure. This was a good research task to start with as it has allowed me to start to form the structure and shape of my project in a way I would not have done before.

I have made a table with 10+ examples of papers, and from that sample I have chosen three which look like they provide the best structure from which I have been able to design a rough outline for my own academic report, which I will discuss and finalise with my mentor in our second meeting, due this week.


Day 4:

This was one of the most challenging days I have had for while, as I started to look at examples of discourse analysis schemes, looking at how they have analysed work and speeches in the past, before coming up with my own.

It took a while, but I have drafted my own discourse scheme which includes examples of the three differing types of discourse I would expect to come across in my analysis. I have also had to consider the possibility of uncovering a new type if discourse, which I need to discuss the possibility of with my mentor. 

Day 5:

Ten days into my project and it is starting to take form, as I completed a practice discourse analysis today in order to understand how its working and what I need to do to improve, but also to get faster at the analysis before I start doing it full time over the upcoming weeks. It was really challenging to start with, but I feel like I've improved! 

Today I also had my second meeting with my mentor, discussing the actions I have completed after our discussion last week. I had a constructive conversation and got more actions and goals for next week, as well as reviews on the work I have completed up until now.

Hannah Boyle

Undergraduate Student, University of York

I am a 2021 Laidlaw Scholar from the University of York, focusing my research on the question:  How was the U.K. Labour Party changed their discourse and proposed to challenge domestic poverty and inequality since 2010?

I have been involved in Politics at a local, grassroots level, including community campaigning, and previously worked for Rachel Reeves MP in her constituency office. As a Politics student, I am interested in all things political and anything related to International Relations, with particular interest on the European Union, Women in Politics and International Development.