Challenges and Opportunities in Accessing Discourse Data in Business Settings: Some Reflections on Research Experiences
This article offers some refl ections on research experiences in relation to both challenges and opportunities involved in gaining access to authentic corporate data, also in situations where direct personal contacts within companies are lacking. Business organizations are highly intent on protecting their confidentiality and sensitive information, and are thus notoriously reluctant to open their doors to ‘outsiders’. Clearly, this sceptical attitude represents a challenge for discourse analysts who focus on business genres that are produced within companies. The discussion will also include insights gleaned from contacts with a professional who operates externally to companies, but was nonetheless able to shed interpretive light on the results of an analysis and possible motives behind access challenges, while suggesting strategies for going forward. With reference to opportunities, I reflect on an interdisciplinary research experience with colleagues from the field of marketing that provides a fresh perspective on acquiring data in a non-intrusive way. This research highlights the fruitful combination of marketing research processes and in-depth language study in order to collect and analyse data of interest to companies, while exploring new ways to connect business discourse research with professional practice.
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