Conversation Analysis and Health Communication

Authored by: Jeffrey D. Robinson

The Routledge Handbook of Health Communication

Print publication date:  April  2011
Online publication date:  August  2011

Print ISBN: 9780415883146
eBook ISBN: 9780203846063
Adobe ISBN: 9781136931673


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Conversation Analysis (CA) originated at the University of California during the 1960s, and it is now the dominant, contemporary, theoretical, and methodological framework for the analysis of social interaction (Heritage, 2009). CA represents a naturalistic and inductive approach to the study of generalizable patterns of interaction that are ultimately amenable to quantification (Robinson, 2007). Although the term ‘conversation analysis’ reflects the origins of CA in studies of everyday casual conversation, CA is widely used to study communication in health care settings. Within numerous health-related fields, the bulk of CA research focuses on communication between health care providers (e.g., physicians, psychotherapists, nurses) and their clients (e.g., patients). As such, this chapter reviews CA findings relevant to provider–client interaction.

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