The Applicability of Speech Act Analysis to Course Evaluation: A Small-Scale Pilot Study

Alison Devine, Edge Hill University, UK


The current paper has both a substantive and methodological focus. Substantively, it finds that the online discussion board postings of students enrolled on a postgraduate certificate in teaching and learning display evidence of students’ applying course studies in their workplace, but that these displays are mostly limited to comments regarding their own physical activities and (affective) approaches, rather than any attempt to disseminate their learning any more widely. Methodologically then, this paper argues that speech act analysis (SAA) can be of partial use to the course evaluator who is seeking evidence of an impact on practice as one means of triangulating data, but that there are three types of evidence of impact on practice apparent in the students’ online postings and a detailed understanding of these types can aid in enhancing student learning.

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