Introduction to Using Conversation Analysis to Study Health Care Encounters

Coronavirus (COVID-19) information

The Short Course Programme in Population Health Sciences has been temporarily suspended.


Bookings for 2020-21 courses will open later in the autumn.

Information on this page relates to the last run of the course and is for reference only. 

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We may need to make responsive changes to our future programme to follow the latest Public Health, Government and University guidance on coronavirus (COVID-19).

Please be aware that all information about short courses planned for 2021 is provisional and subject to change.

Course dates

28 - 29 January 2019

Course duration

2 days (approximately 12 hours teaching including lectures, an extended small group practicum, partner work, and individual exercises).
Registration will start at 9am on the first day, the course will finish by 4pm on the final day.

Course tutors

Dr Rebecca BarnesDr Marcus Jepson (course organisers).

Course aims 

The course is a working introduction to analysing recorded interaction between patients and providers in different health care settings. Participants will learn how to go about making recordings and gain practical experience in transcribing and analysing them. By the end of this course participants will understand how to apply conversation analytic methods either as standalone projects or alongside other methods in health services research towards the improvement of patient care.

Course objectives

By the end of the course participants should be able to:

  1. appreciate the history and basic principles behind using CA to study health care encounters;
  2. identify the sorts of research questions for which CA methods may be appropriate;
  3. understand how to go about making recordings of health care encounters and how to begin transcribing them;
  4. begin to analyse recordings of health care encounters; and
  5. appreciate the kinds of impact CA research can have and the range of strategies for disseminating CA findings to different stakeholders.

Who the course is intended for

This course is open to any candidates who would like to understand the basic principles behind conversation analytic methods and begin to learn how to apply them to health care encounter data. Attendees do not need to have any previous experience or knowledge of conversation analytic methods, although experience of, or ideas about, a research project using these methods would make the course more relevant.

Course outline

  1. What is conversation analysis (CA)?
  2. What kinds of research questions can CA methods address in healthcare?
  3. Collecting naturalistic data: Ethical issues, recording and transcribing.
  4. Analysing naturalistic data 1: Making and working with collections.
  5. Practicum I.
  6. Analysing naturalistic data 2: Quantifying interactional practices with formal coding.
  7. Practicum II.
  8. Understanding pathways to impact and how to disseminate CA findings.

Recommended reading

Hepburn A, Bolden GB. The conversation analytic approach to transcription. In: J Sidnell, T Stivers (eds) The Handbook of Conversation Analysis. Wiley-Blackwell. 2013.

This was an excellent course that confirmed this is exactly the methodology I need for my study purposes. More than that I feel armed to conduct such a study having received practical advice, as well as a theoretical background, to approach every stage from set-up through to analysis. Superb.

Course feedback, January 2017

Course fee


More information on course fees, fee waivers and reduced prices.

Course venue

Bristol Medical School
Canynge Hall
39 Whatley Road
United Kingdom

Map and directions

Course refreshments

We provide morning and afternoon refreshment breaks, including tea and coffee, biscuits and fresh fruit.

If you have specific dietary needs we ask that you let us know in advance.

Lunch is not included. There are a range of local cafes and supermarkets nearby for students to purchase lunch. 


Information about accommodation in the area.


For further information please email

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