What makes a piece of research “discourse analysis”? What makes it “critical discourse analysis”? I will offer one opinion about these questions in this paper. My considerations will be basic, since I want to illuminate what I take to be fundamental issues, ones often obscured in work in education where “discourse analysis” sometimes means no more than anecdotal reflections on written or oral texts. As to critical discourse analysis, sometimes this seems to amount to proselytizing for one’s own politics in the absence of any close study of oral or written language.