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Unger, Hella von ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7071-1359; Scott, Penelope ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7570-1181 and Odukoya, Dennis (2018): Using SKAD to analyse classification practices in public health. Methodological reflections on the research process. In: Keller, Reiner; Hornidge, Anna-Katharina and Schünemann, Wolf J. (eds.) : The sociology of knowledge approach to discourse: Investigating the politics of knowledge and meaning-making. Routledge Advances in Sociology, Vol. 250. London; New York: Routledge. pp. 169-185

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The categorisation and classification of im/migrants and ethnic minorities constitutes a core discursive practice in public health. Employing the Sociology of Knowledge Approach to Discourse Analysis (SKAD), we explore changes in the categorisation and classification of im/migrants and ethnic groups in health reporting in Germany and the UK. The “Changing Categories” project sheds light on the genesis and power effects of classification systems and the underlying acts of categorisation as discursive practices within specific socio-historical contexts, namely health reporting on HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis since the 1980s. The current analysis focuses on methodological aspects of the study design and the challenges encountered in the research process. We describe the methodological fit between research question and study design based on the conceptual framework of categorisation drawing on sociology of knowledge and discourse theory perspectives. The data corpus contains different types of material including health reports, epidemiological publications, prevention material, expert interviews and field notes. We discuss struggling with the question What constitutes data in our analysis? and describe in detail how the various documents, tables and visual data were analysed using an interpretive approach. The heuristic framework of SKAD allows the productive integration of elements from neighbouring methodologies such as Grounded Theory and its postmodern version, Situational Analysis. With its in-depth exploration of key aspects of the research process, the chapter advances the methodological debate and highlights some of the issues arising in the application of SKAD in a specific discursive field.

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