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Methodology: Conversation Analysis Meg Tucker March 30, 2009.

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Presentation on theme: "Methodology: Conversation Analysis Meg Tucker March 30, 2009."— Presentation transcript:

1 Methodology: Conversation Analysis Meg Tucker March 30, 2009

2 Foundations of Conversation Analysis (CA) Grew out of Ethnomethodology CA studies the social organization of 'conversation', or 'talk-in-interaction', by a detailed inspection of taped recordings and transcripts made from such recordings. Conversation Analysis is a disciplined way of studying the organization of interactional episodes, producing a mass of insights into the detailed procedural foundations of everyday life.

3 About Conversation Analysis… The report should focus on the organization of sequences (courses of action), turn-taking, repair practices, syntax-for-conversation, the structure of speech events, and the integration of speech & gesture. Analyses should demonstrate how native speakers of English, nonnative speakers of English, or both deploy these aspects of interactional competence to communicate. The research should aim to uncover an emic perspective. In other words, the study focuses on participants' contextualized perspectives and interpretations of behavior, events, and situations rather than etic (outsider-imposed) categories, models, and viewpoints (van Lier, 1989). The primary data in the study should be the conversational and other behaviors that participants produce for each other in real time. The notion of context is principally understood as the talk that immediately precedes and follows the conversational object under study

4 About Conversation Analysis… Data collection strategies include the collection of videotapes, audiotapes, or both of talk-in-interaction, which are then transcribed according to the conventions of CA developed by Gail Jefferson. Videotapes are strongly preferred because of the importance of embodied aspects of interaction. In all cases, the recordings are considered to be the definitive source of information about the behaviors that were observed. Transcripts are understood as a tool for analysis to be used in conjunction with recordings.

5 Why use CA? The central goal of conversation analytic research is the description and explication of the competences that ordinary speakers use and rely on in participating in intelligible, socially organized interaction. At its most basic, this objective is one of describing the procedures by which conversationalists produce their own behavior and understand and deal with the behavior of others. The system used in CA is specifically designed to reveal the sequential features of talk. Conversation analysts place emphasis on building “collections” of instances of particular conversational phenomenon.

6 Specialized Transcription Conversation analysts transcribe to display sounds emitted by participants and related actions (Roger & Bull) They transcribe using ordinary writing supplemented by special typographical symbols coined by Gail Jefferson Transcription Symbols

7 Key – Temporal & Sequential Relationships [ ] and // - Overlapping or simultaneous talk = - Equal signs ordinarily come in pairs -- one at the end of a line and another at the start of the next line or one shortly thereafter. They are used to indicate two things: 1) If the lines connected by two equal signs are by different speakers, then the second followed the first with no discernable silence between them, or was "latched" to it. 2) If the two lines connected by the equal signs are by the same speaker, then there was a single, continuous utterance with no break or pause, which was broken up in order to accommodate the placement of overlapping talk.

8 Key – Temporal & Sequential Relationships (0.5) - Numbers in parentheses indicate silence, represented in tenths of a second; what is given here in the left margin indicates 5/10 seconds of silence. Silences may be marked either within an utterance or between utterances: Within: Between:

9 Key – Aspects of Speech Delivery. ?, ?, The punctuation marks are not used grammatically, but to indicate intonation. The period indicates a falling, or final, intonation contour, not necessarily the end of a sentence. Similarly, a question mark indicates rising intonation, not necessarily a question, and a comma indicates "continuing" intonation, not necessarily a clause boundary. In some transcript fragments in your readings you may see a combined question mark and comma, which indicates a rise stronger than a comma but weaker than a question mark. Because this symbol cannot be produced by the computer, the inverted question mark is used for this purpose.. "final" intonation: ? rising intonation:

10 Key – Aspects of Speech Delivery :: - Colons are used to indicate the prolongation or stretching of the sound just preceding them. The more colors, the longer the stretching. On the other hand, graphically stretching a word on the page by inserting blank spaces between letters does not necessarily indicate how it was pronounced; it is used to allow alignment with overlapping talk. “Ri::::ght. Like I believe that” - - A hyphen indicates a cut off or self-interrupt “W-when can you go? Not- no not today.” word word WOrd WOrd - Underlining is used to indicate some form of stress or emphasis, either by increased loudness or higher pitch. The more underlining, the greater the emphasis. Therefore, underlining sometimes is placed under the first letter or two of a word, rather than under the letters which are actually raised pitch or volume. Especially loud talk may be indicated by upper case. In extreme cases, upper case may be underlined.

11 Key - Aspects of Speech Delivery o - The degree sign indicates that the talk following it was markedly quiet or soft. When there are two degree signs, the talk between them is markedly softer than the talk around it. _: - Combinations of underlining and colons are used to indicate intonation contours, as follows: If the letter(s) preceding a colon is underlined, then there is an "inflected" falling intonation contour. If a colon is itself underlined, then there is an inflected rising intonation contour.

12 Key - Aspects of Speech Delivery > < - The combination of "more than" and "less than" symbols indicates that the talk between them is compressed or rushed. Used in the reverse order, they can indicate that a stretch of talk is markedly slow or drawn out. The "less than" symbol by itself indicates that the immediately following talk is "jump- started." hh - Hearable aspiration (breathing) is shown where it occurs in the talk by the letter "h" -- the more h's, the more aspiration. The aspiration may represent breathing, laughter, etc. If it occurs inside the boundaries of a word, it may be enclosed in parentheses in order to set it apart from the sounds of the word. If the aspiration is an inhalation, it is shown with a dot before it. “I don’t ‘hh I don’t know wh(h)at they want”

13 Key – Other Symbols (( )) - Double parentheses are used to mark transcriber's description of events, rather than representations of them. Thus ((cough)), ((sniff)), ((telephone rings)), ((footsteps)), ((whispered)), ((pause)) and the like. “No I don’t mind ((sniff)), not at all.” (word) - When all or part of an utterance is in parentheses, or the speaker identification is, this indicates uncertainty on the transcriber's part, but represents a likely possibility. Empty parentheses indicate that something is being said, but no hearing could be achieved. If the empty parentheses is where speakers are identified, it indicates that no identification of the speaker could be achieved.

14 Now YOU get to try it! Listen to the audio clip from this small group meeting and follow along with the printed transcripts provided. Take a few minutes to mark temporal and sequential relationships as well as any other aspects of speech delivery on the transcript. Refer to the Key for help.

15 Original Transcript Sample Small Group Transcripts 1 Group Meeting 2/2/2009 K: Okay it’s on. J: Okay. K: So a significant and contemporary problem. Should we start talking about our research interests are and seeing if there’s any that overlap? Maybe we can do something like that as our problem, or an area where somebody maybe has expertise in versus picking a problem we know nothing about or...? C: No, no. J: Fine by me. K: Okay. Okay James *laughs* J: Um, let’s see. Well, my background I guess is semi health-risk-interpersonal in a way, um. Um, I’m very interested in the practical nature of things so it’s easier for me to gravitate towards those kinds of fields. My thesis is more geared towards health. My undergraduate is more towards interpersonal and... K: What issue in health are you studying? J: Um, I’m studying breast cancer and how per… how source perceptions affect message processing. K: So, perceptions... *writing*... sorry just taking notes. J: No problem.

16 CA Updated Transcript Sample Small Group Transcripts 1 Group Meeting 2/2/2009 K: Okay it’s on. ((scratching)) J: Okay. K: So (0.8) a significant and contemporary problem. Should we start talking wh- about what ou:r research interests are and seeing if there’s any that overlAP? Wher:::e maybe we can do something like THAT as our (0.3) problem, or an area where somebody maybe has expertise in? versus (0.5) picking a problem we know nothing about or? C: o No, no=. J: =Fine by me. K: Okay. Okay J(h)ames ((laughs)) J: U::m, let’s see. ‘Hhh Well, my background I guess is semi health risk interpersonal. in a way, um. (0.9) I’m very interested in the practical nature of things so it’s (easier) for me to gravitate towards those kinds of fields. My undergraduate background is more interpersonal and... K: What issue in health are you studying? J: U::m, I’m studying breast cancer a::nd how per- how source perceptions um, affect message processing. K: (0.7) ((writes)) o sorry just taking notes. J: No problem.

17 Sources Hopper, R. (1989). “Conversation analysis and social psychology as descriptions of interpersonal communication.” In Conversation: An Interdisciplinary Perspective. Hutchby, I. & Wooffitt, R. (2008). Conversation Analysis. 2 nd ed. Polity. (p ). Psathas, G. (1995). Conversation Analysis: The Study of Talk-in-Interaction. Roger, D. & Bull, P. (1989). Conversation: An Interdisciplinary Perspective.


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