Critical discourse analysis: Understanding change in maternity services

Meredith McIntyre, Karen Francis, Ysanne Chapman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


This paper provides an example of the use of critical discourse analysis (CDA) in the area of maternity care policy anddescribes the process of CDA as an effective research method for understanding the influences of change in the context ofAustralian maternity services. CDA is a methodological approach that examines how discourse is formed and given power,as a result of how power is used, who uses it and the context within which this usage takes place. The application of CDAis described in this study for the purpose of examining key-stakeholder use of knowledge and power for the purpose ofinfluencing the direction of the maternity services reform. The CDA theoretical framework guided discourse identificationand analysis of the purpose behind the discourse through examination of power relationships between key stakeholders.The use of a theoretical lens in the form of neoliberalism to supplement the theoretical framework facilitated the exposureof forces intrinsic to the maternity care context driving change.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)36-43
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Nursing Practice
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2012

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