This book is meant to be a beginning to discourse analysis. Now that beginning is nearly at an end. The best way for readers to end this book would be to choose a topic of their own, collect their own data, and engage in their own discourse analysis. Readers can use each of the 27 tools we have introduced. This will lead them to ask 27 questions. As I said in the Introduction, there is no necessary order to the tools. Indeed, it is often useful to go through them backwards from 27 to 1, or to choose an order that works for the data and the researcher. What makes a discourse analysis valid? I take validity to be something that different analyses can have more or less of, i.e., some analyses are more or less valid than others. Furthermore, validity is never ‘‘once and for all.’’ All analyses are open to further discussion and dispute, and their status can go up or down with time as work goes on in the field. Validity for discourse analysis is based on the following four elements:
1. Convergence: A discourse analysis is more, rather than less, valid (i.e., ‘‘trustworthy’’), the more the answers to the 27 questions converge in the way they support the analysis or, to put the matter the other way round, the more the analysis offers compatible and convincing answers to many or all of them.