Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Committee Member

Denise Tillery

Number of Pages



This thesis uses interpretive discourse analysis to critically examine the situated meaning of prescription drug Direct-To-Consumer Advertising (DTCA) as compared to the situated meaning of historical patent DTCA. Specifically, I apply James Paul Gee's theory of analysis to show how the DTCA, past and present, builds identity, connections, and sign systems and knowledge. My analysis demonstrates that the coverage and convergence of these building tasks in both prescription and patent DTCA indicate that today's pharmaceutical companies' situated meaning is not significantly different from the patent medicine advertising of the past. Despite pharmaceutical companies' claims that the prescription DTCA educates consumers, the discourse does not substantiate a situated meaning beyond that of a manufacturer selling a product. Understanding the motivation and language of pharmaceutical advertising will enable us, as consumers and patients, to make sound decisions about the medications we endorse.


Advertising; Analysis; Consumer; Direct; Meaning; Pharmaceutical; Situated

Controlled Subject

Rhetoric; Marketing

File Format


File Size

2.25 MB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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