Explain why action is central in the analysis of interaction? Essay

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Transcript of interactions can be examined using various methods of analysis including conversation analysis (CA), interactional sociolinguistics, politeness theory, critical discourse analysis and discursive psychology just to name a few. Researchers make decisions on which analytical framework they are to adopt in their study based on the focus of their investigation and the level of detail they hope to extract from the data (Stubbe, Lane, Hilder, Vine, Vine, Marra, Holmes and Weatherall, 2009). For the purpose of this paper, the analytical method that will be considered is CA which is known to be used to decipher ‘the ‘contents’ of… (inter)actions’ (Ten have, 2006, p. 42). In essence, CA is interested in what participants of an interaction are doing as the conversation unfolds. This explains why transcriptions used in CA often contain an immense amount of details including ‘manner or practice of speaking or…bodily behaviour’ (Sidnell, 2009, p. 376) such as tones, pauses, eye-gazes and laughter to provide comprehensive and exact information for the decoding of actions done in the investigated interaction. In addition, CA adopts the ‘emic perspective’ for analysis which means that researchers use the viewpoint of participants in the interaction instead of their own (since they are the outsiders looking into an interaction) and ‘the sequential environment in which social actions was performed’ (Seedhouse, 2005, p. 252) to arrive at conclusions. Therefore, aside from the detailed information that is provided in transcripts, according to Hutchby and Wooffitt (2008), CA aims to ‘discover how participants understand and respond to one another in their turns at talk, with a central focus on how sequences of actions are ge...

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...ent responses: notes on the co-operation of multiple constraints. In: Schenkein, J. (Ed.) Language, thought and culture: advances in the study of cognition (pp. 79-112). New York: Academic Press.
Psathas, G. (1995). Conversation analysis. The study of talk-in-interaction. California: Sage Publications Ltd.
Seedhouse, P. (2005). Conversation analysis as research methodology. In: Richards, K., & Seedhouse, P. (Eds.) Applying conversation analysis (pp. 251-266). New York: Palgrave MacMillan.
Silverman, D. (1998). Social science and conversation analysis. Cambridge: Polity Press.
Stubbe, M., Lane, C., Hilder, J., Vine, E., Vine, B., Marra, M., Holmes, J. & Weatherall, A. (2003). Multiple discourse analyses of a workplace interaction. Discourse Studies. 5(1), 351-388.
Ten Have, P. (2006). Doing conversation analysis: a practical guide. London: Sage Publications Ltd.

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