Methodology by sdaferv


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									3. METHODOLOGY 3.1 Data collection

In order to conduct the analysis, a wide array of political speeches composed by the two British Prime ministers Winston Churchill and Tony Blair were collected. The way in which they were collected was to purchase a book with the speeches of Churchill from February 1901 until March 1955. I visited the Winston Churchill archive and obtained five speeches in the published form, addressing the House of Commons. I was also fortunate enough to collect an original cassette tape with some of the extracts of Churchill‟s most famous radio broadcasted speeches. Four speeches by the current Prime Minister Tony Blair were collected from the Governments official website The reason for using the Internet as a primary means of collecting Blair‟s speeches was due to the recentness of the war in Iraq speeches. A tape of Blair‟s speech to the House of Commons was collected and recorded form Windows multimedia player.

3.2 Data Selection Having read through and carefully looked at the nine speeches collected, I decided to analyse just four, two from each leader, one addressing the nation and one to the House of Commons. I hoped to discover the techniques employed by both men in order to persuade each of their own political parties, and the country as a whole. The two speeches selected from Churchill were his address to the Nation on the 13th May 1940. I chose this speech because this was his first speech to Britain as the new Prime Minister and I wanted to


analyse his persuasiveness as a political speaker during the beginning of his leadership. The second speech was his address to the House of Commons on 4th June 1940, just three weeks after his first address to the Nation. This speech was selected as it is one of his most famous speeches during the battle of Dunkirk. “We shall fight on the beaches” is a line from the speech that many people have heard and I wanted to determine why this speech has become so memorable. Tony Blair‟s speech to the House of Commons on the 18th March 2003 was of major importance as he had to convince the Government that going to war was justifiable in order to gain their votes. I also chose his address to the nation two days later as this was when he informed the country they were at war. These four speeches were chosen in order to compare the different style of each leader and to contrast their political strategies.

3.3 Data Analysis The art of persuasion was a key aspect throughout this study. Political leaders constantly seek the support and votes from fellow politicians but essentially the people of their country. I must make it clear that this study is not a complete comparison of how each speaker speaks to the House of Commons and addresses the Nation, but is mainly concerned with all the persuasive devices used in all speeches. This study is particularly concerned with the methods and techniques employed by each Prime Minister when using language as a persuasive device. As a means of studying the

persuasiveness of each speech I have analysed them broadly under the three catagories of persuasion that Cockcroft describes, which are outlined in the


literature review on page 8. I discussed the use of emotive language and how this might arouse the audience. I have broken down Cockcroft‟s category of persuasion through reasoning into the analysis of statement and facts and why these might persuade. The main analytical system I have focussed on is personal pronouns, modality and evaluation.

The first feature of language analysed was the use of Personal pronouns throughout each of the four speeches. I looked at each leader‟s address to the Nation and counted the number of occurrences of the first person pronouns „I‟ and „We.‟ The frequency of these pronouns were then transferred to tables in order to clearly portray the usage. I conducted the same process from each Prime Ministers speech to the House of Commons. Due to the nature of the pronoun „We‟ I wanted to investigate whether the two speakers used „We‟ inclusively or exclusively (Fairclough 2001), thus I studied each speech in order to discover the frequency of inclusive „We‟ and exclusive „We‟ was. The results I gained were put into tables. I wished to establish what the different references of „We‟ were throughout each speech, therefore I studied each referent of „We‟ determining whether the pronoun referred to the nation/army, the British Government, the United Nations (UN) or Britain and America collectively. Through the analysis of each speech I was able to ascertain the most frequent referent of „we‟ and discuss its importance as a persuasive device. The final part of the pronoun analysis included tables of the frequency of all remaining personal pronouns such as „our‟ and „their‟ and the way that personal pronouns are used in order to avoid repetition.


I drew upon theories of modality and evaluation in order to explore the way in which each leader presented themselves persuasively and effectively when speaking. I identified the modal verbs and analysed the number of occurrences in each of the four speeches as a means of discovering which speaker used the greater number and for what reason.

Grammatical parallelism was one of the characteristics of the political speeches which I analysed. I studied the basic repetition used, for example the repeated use of the pronoun „we‟ and the modal verb „shall‟ in Churchill‟s speech. I wanted to determine why such parallelism made the speeches persuasive and memorable.

In order to comment on the delivery of speech from each leader and thus answer my research question of „how does each leader portray their political identity?‟ I selected a small passage from Churchill‟s speech to the House of Commons, taken from the original cassette tape and made an orthographic transcription. By this I mean a simple representation of speech using the English alphabet as a base and adding symbols to represent pitch, pauses and stress. I also transcribed a passage of the same length from Blair‟s speech to the House of Commons. This was recorded from the Internet on the Windows multimedia player. By transcribing a small part of each speech I hoped to gain a brief insight into the delivery of each Prime ministers words. When discussing the delivery of each leaders speech, I have looked at aspects such as pauses, stress and tone. In the short piece of transcription


that I completed, I wanted to discover the type of words each leader placed the most stress on, i.e whether more stress was placed on personal pronouns or on words such as „tyrant‟ when discussing the enemy. It was not possible for me to comment on the visual features of each speech as they were not available for Churchill due to technology not been as advanced.


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