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Publication - Dr Rebecca Barnes

    Conversation analysis of communication in medical care

    Description and beyond

    Citation

    Barnes, R, 2019, ‘Conversation analysis of communication in medical care: Description and beyond’. Research on Language and Social Interaction.

    Abstract

    This article presents a contemporary view on the state-of-the-art of applied conversation analytic studies of medical consultations. I begin by considering why conversation analysts might have been drawn to studying the medical consultation in the first place and how our foundational studies have paved the way to where we are now. I argue that we have provided evidence for a wide range of practical problems and dilemmas faced by patients and doctors (and their solutions) during these encounters; contributed new evidence to sociological debates / critiques of medical dominance; taken up consumer reformist agendas; and begun to demonstrate the practical enactment (or not) of health policies and new healthcare technologies ‘in the wild’. The review highlights a trajectory towards intervention studies in response to increased ‘outside’ interest from the medical community. I argue that although our current observation base may already have the potential to improve patient care, making a difference will require going beyond description to provide different levels of evidence for different stakeholder audiences. Although new territories may bring new rewards to the discipline, they also bring contemporary challenges for which we need to be suitably equipped. Data are presented in American and British English. care, making a difference will require going beyond description to provide different levels of evidence for different stakeholder audiences. Data are presented in American and British English.

    Full details in the University publications repository