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Qualitative methods - conversation analysis

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1 Qualitative methods - conversation analysis
Week 4: More information on writing up a qualitative method study

2 Structure Abstract Introduction Method Analysis
Discussion and/or Concluding comments References Appendix → The body of the paper should be less than 3000 words. Count everything but the references and the appendix.

3 Abstract This should be a word summary of the aim of the study and the main results and analysis. In practice, the best time to write this is when everything else has been completed and you have a full picture of what has been accomplished.

4 Introduction 1. This section of the report (approx words) should do several things: (a) set out the aim of the study in a clear and concise manner (b) show some understanding of relevant background material [e.g., other studies] which inform the question/s and focus of this study (c) Towards the end of the introduction indicate why the relevant literature informs your study and the questions it leads to: E.g., “The theory of power and discourse outlined by Foucault (1977) argues that power relations between people are reflected in the language or discourse they use. If this is the case then when we come to compare certain conversational structures in talk (e.g., adjacency pairs) across different contexts, specifically, contexts where power relations are important with contexts where there is no reason to believe they are important, then we should find that elements of these structures in the different contexts are different. In this study we aim to compare……[and so on]. (d) The end of your introduction should consist with a list of questions you are asking – it is not hypothesis testing however. It is a set of orienting questions which underpin the focus of the study and which are derived from the theory and relevant literature.

5 Method 2. Method 2.1. Design 2.2. Participants, material and context
2.3. Procedure 2.4. Reflexive account of selection criteria 2.5. Transcription

6 2.1. Design In this section of your report you would set out relevant information about the design of the study: (a) You used a qualitative method – and explain what is different about these methods compared to quantitative approaches (b) You employed a case study approach – in the instance a comparative case study involving the analysis and comparison of naturalistic data (c) Along with using a case study approach you would point out that you employed conversation analysis and you would indicate that other forms of analysis could have been used (discourse analysis or content analysis). However given the focus on the structure of conversation, then conversation analysis was deemed the most appropriate. (see first lecture for an overview, remember that conversation analysis is designed to ask questions about structure and power relationships)

7 2.2. Participants, material and context
In this section you would discuss and/or itemise: (2.2.1) Information about the participants (although minimal in this case you must still include it – e.g., the number of participants in the informal meeting). See similar details on the transcription information.doc in the supplementary material folder (2.2.2) Details on the material – i.e., in this case noting the kind of sound file you used, how long each one was and whether it was supplemented with a video (as in the normal example). You should also describe (briefly) the software you used for your analysis. (2.2.3) Some indication of the context that the recordings were made. Again, here you have little information, but you should nevertheless include it. (2.2.4) Ethics – You should also include some discussion about possible ethical issues. Although in all instances, to the best of our knowledge, participants gave permission for these extracts to be used for research and teaching purposes, you should nevertheless show some understanding of the potential ethical issues involved.

8 2.3. Procedure In this sub-section you should discuss exactly what you did – e.g., how you went about the transcription, where it was carried out, how you might have shared out responsibility with your group for doing so, and how you overcame any disagreements (e.g., regarding whether a part of the talk was emphasised using raised pitch or with an increase in volume).

9 2.4. Reflexive account of selection criteria
Here, you should return to the field-notes you were advised to take when you and your group were discussing which extracts you might choose for your analysis. As far as possible, you should indicate why you chose one over another – this might be because of relevant background literature, or your focus on the question of power relations or whatever.

10 2.5. Transcription In this section you outline the orthography of conversation analysis. This is a nice word for describing the symbols you used to transcribe pauses, interruptions, etc. The table in the ‘how to’ guide is a good example of this, but you also should indicate something of your knowledge of where this orthography came from (you will find references to this throughout the literature). You don’t have to go through each element in detail, but if, for example, you used a slightly larger set than the one suggestion you should mention this here.

11 3. Analysis After the introduction this section of your report is likely to be the longest (e.g., 1,200 words or thereabouts). Your analysis section should include: A short introduction about the structure(s) you decided to compare. Examples of ‘structures’ are pauses, interruptions, adjacency pairs, questions, intonations, etc. A careful and considered comparative analysis of that particular structure across the two contexts of transcription (e.g, the ‘informal’ vs. whatever ‘formal’ you chose). Certainly one would expect to find an analysis based on at least three examples (that is 3 within each context, six in all), but the norm would be more. Where appropriate, discussion of other relevant aspects of the transcription that may help to support your argument. In order to get a good idea of how conversation analysts present their analysis you should look carefully at relevant examples in the literature. See the folder with literature on V:\courses\SP500\Practical 1\Some relevant papers & references

12 4. Discussion and/or concluding comments
In this short concluding section of your report you should discuss your findings more generally, and with reference to the original literature you introduced in your introduction. This is also the place to discuss limitation of the study and consider how it might be improved.

13 5. References You must include here a full list of references formatted according to the APA guidelines (as in all practical reports).

14 Appendix This final part of your report should contain the full transcription of at least one minute of one of extracts you compared, set out in the manner given in the earlier PowerPoint presentation (the child), and described in the ‘how to do CA guide’. Alternatively, you might include 30 seconds of each extract.

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