A framework for the systematic analysis of evasion in parliamentary discourse

Parameswary Rasiah

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14 Citations (Scopus)


Evasion (equivocation) has been identified as a matter of concern in political interviews, but no systematic study has been undertaken in the context of parliamentary discourse, notably Question Time, anywhere in the world. This study applies and adapts various approaches on how politicians ‘resist’ answering questions, all of which are based on political news interviews, to the study of evasion in parliamentary discourse. A comprehensive, unified framework for the analysis of evasion is described, a decision flow-chart for the framework is provided, and an illustrative example of the applied framework is given based on Australia's Question Time. It involved the classification of responses as ‘answers’, ‘intermediate responses’, and ‘evasions’ based on specific criteria. Responses which were considered evasions were further analysed to determine the levels of evasion, whether they were covert or overt in nature and the types of ‘agenda shifts’ that occurred, if any. The corpus investigated consists of Australia's House of Representatives’ Question Time transcripts, for the months of February and March 2003, on the specific issue of Iraq. The study provides empirical evidence that evasion does occur during parliamentary Question Time.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)N/A
JournalJournal of Pragmatics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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