Research Methods in Sociopragmatics

  • Rosina Márquez Reiter
  • María Elena Placencia


As we saw in Chapter 1, pragmatics is a relatively new discipline whose nature of inquiry intersects with that of a number of other social sciences, such as linguistics (applied linguistics, (critical) discourse analysis, semantics, sociolinguistics), sociology, psychology and anthropology. Pragmatics does not have a methodology of its own but draws upon the methodology employed in other social sciences, in linguistics, anthropology and sociology, for example. As the field of pragmatics is broad and covers a variety of strands, from the study of (contextualized) sentence meaning (Fraser, 1998) to the study of meaning in interaction (Thomas, 1995), the way in which data are collected and analysed depends on the pragmatic perspective adopted by the researcher, as well as on the object of study. This book has focused on sociopragmatics; namely, on the study of the underlying norms of speaker and hearer meaning as reflected in the (appropriate) realization of speech acts, the organization of conversation, politeness manifestations and sociopragmatic variation. Furthermore, most of the empirical studies discussed in the book have concentrated on different aspects of ‘spoken interaction’, gathered in a variety of ways: from the employment of production questionnaires, aimed at eliciting instances of spoken data, to the use of naturalistic data collection methods. Rather than provide a precis on social research, the aim of this chapter is to review the main data collection methods that have been employed to study different aspects of (Spanish) sociopragmatics. This decision has been taken for two reasons: firstly, there is already available an array of specialized publications on the subject of social research and, secondly, as evidenced by the empirical studies reported in previous chapters, sociopragmaticists have favoured some social research instruments more than others, for example, questionnaires v. interviews.


Role Play Verbal Report Social Variable Research Instrument Natural Discourse 
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Copyright information

© Rosina Márquez Reiter and María Elena Placencia 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rosina Márquez Reiter
    • 1
  • María Elena Placencia
    • 2
  1. 1.University of SurreyUK
  2. 2.Birkbeck CollegeUniversity of LondonUK

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