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Guest Blog: Using NVivo for CA

Qualitative researchers have an increasing number of digital resources to help them organise their data. Here, Charlotte Albury and Tilly Flint offer a guide to NVivo, a popular and flexible tool for working with focus group data – and one that can be made to work for conversation analysts.

What is Nvivo?

NVivo is a Computer Assisted Qualitative Data Analysis (CAQDAS) software package. It’s commonly used by researchers who work on interview or focus group data to support data management and coding. However, NVivo also can work incredibly well (in fact, rather brilliantly) for conversation analysts to store transcripts, build and manage collections, and begin to make senseof what’s happening in interactional data. Importantly, NVivo does not do any analysis for you – but we’ve found this software provides a workspace and tools that can really support conversation analysis (and conversation analysts). By importing transcripts into NVivo, analysts can organise, edit, and annotate data, making it easy to organise (and reorganise) collections.

What does it look like?

Nvivo’s screen is separated into 3 views. On the far left (Navigation View) you can see an overview of your project, and all the folders in it – it’s like your computer desktop. These folders contain your transcripts (files) and collections (codes). If you select a folder in Navigation View, the contents are shown in the next view over (list view). And when you click on an item in list view it opens up in detail view (far right) showing a particular transcript or collection in detail.

Illustrative Guide

1.   Coding & Coding Stripes

So what Nvivo calls ‘coding’ simply means grouping similar data. In a CA context, we both use the ‘coding’ function to make collections. We would do this by highlighting a piece of data that we want in our collection, this could be a full extract or just a couple of lines. All coded extracts will then be collated under the same code, making it easy to find related extracts. If your collections have multiple components you can organise them under a broader heading, like we do below. You can use as many or as few codes as you wish. This means that you can use NVivo throughout the phases of your analysis. In the early stages of unmotivated looking, you can code all potentially relevant observations, and as the research develops you can turn off the coding for observations that are no longer relevant (or put them in a separate ‘codes’ folder), without losing all of this work.

 Also, when viewing a single transcript, all coding in the extracts will be visible using Coding Stripes (see images below with data from the SBCSAE, see DuBois & Englebretson (n.d.)).

2.   Cases

Cases are a way of grouping data together. This could mean grouping all interactions with the same clinician, the same participants over a period of time in a longitudinal study, or grouping together an interaction with other relevant data, such as survey responses or interview transcripts from the same participant.

3.   Annotations

‘Annotations’ are notes that can be made on transcripts. These annotations can be specific to any amount of highlighted text within a file (as opposed to Memos which link to a whole file). These annotations can be viewed within the file or in the annotations folder.

4.   Memos

Memos are like a blank page in your NVivo file, and be used in whichever way is most useful to you and your research, for example,you could use this space to write analysis notes, keep track of queries and searches, store meta-data or results in the form of graphs or tables, or to record information about the progress of the analysis. Memos can be attached to specific documents in Nvivo they can be stand-alone for broader use.

5.   Searches

Using NVivo’s ‘text search’ function, you can retrieve a particular word, or group of words, supporting accurate and speedy retrieval of data across the whole project. We’ve found this incredibly helpful. To make the most of this function, our tip would be to import both Jeffersonian and verbatim versions of each transcript, as words with notation between letters are not retrieved in searches.

To summarise, NVivo software is an excellent option for conversation analytic work to organise data, manage collections, and annotate transcripts. Here, we have presented a few ways in which NVivo can be used for CA research, however there are many more features that we haven’t discussed here that may be useful when doing interactional research. We hope that by outlining some of the most useful features of NVivo, we will encourage others to make use of NVivo software.

NVivo Resources:

Data Resources:

References:

DuBois, J. & Englebretson, R. (n.d.) SBCSAE Corpus. Accessible at: https://ca.talkbank.org/access/SBCSAE.htm

Charlotte Albury is a Mildred Blaxter research fellow in conversation analysis and health behaviours, funded by the foundation for the sociology of health and illness, and holds a Fulford JRF at Somerville College, University of Oxford. Her research focusses on advice giving and risk communication in clinical settings, and relationships between in-consultation communication and longer changes to health behaviours. She is course director for Oxford Qualitative Courses, and leads Oxford University’s NVivo courses.

Natalie Flint is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in Clinical Conversation Analysis at the University of Exeter. She is interested in the structural organisation of naturally occurring talk across a variety of settings, namely, clinical encounters, everyday family interactions, initial interactions, and public encounters. Her current research focuses on communicating risk in clinical encounters, and resistance in family interactions.

Guest Blog: In memory of Jack Bilmes

All of us at ROLSI were sorry to hear of the death, in May of this year, of Jack Bilmes, one of ethnomethodology’s most original and independent voices, and a warm, generous and caring man. I’m very grateful to Professor Gabi Kasper, an old friend and teaching colleague of Jack’s, for allowing us to reproduce here the obituary that was read out at this year’s IPrA conference. The paper that Jack was to have presented a paper there will, happily, be published in Discourse Studies (1).

Jack Bilmes came to the Department of Anthropology at the University of Hawaii at Manoa as a Visiting Acting Assistant Professor in 1973. The Anth. Department at UH remained his institutional home base throughout his academic career. He also served on the graduate faculty of Linguistics and, from 1989 until his retirement in 2011, he was on the faculty of the PhD program in Second Language Studies. He served on many dissertation committees in these programs as well as in Japanese Linguistics.

Jack liked teaching, and he was a tremendous teacher. He introduced generations of PhD students to ethnomethodology and CA, regardless of the students’ disciplinary affiliation. His graduate course on Discursive Practices and his graduate seminars were a must to take for PhD students specializing in CA, and he generously welcomed colleagues from other departments and visitors to UH to sit in. I wish I had taken him up on the open invitation more often.

Discursive Practices partially overlapped with sociolinguistics and discourse analysis courses as they are typically taught in linguistics and applied linguistics, but Jack’s course took a more expansive view and a more targeted focus. For the many students from outside of anthropology and sociology in particular, his own article On The Believability Of Northern Thai Spirit Mediums (1995) and Howard Becker’s classic Becoming A Marijuana User (1953) may have been eye-catching for their exotic appeal at first, but under Bilmes’ guided reading of the texts in class their radical epistemology became more apparent for us and helped us see their implications for studying learning and development, both key topics in applied linguistics and second language studies.

Had it not been for Jack Bilmes’ courses, I suspect that discursive psychology would have remained under the radar of applied linguistic students and faculty at UH. I remember vividly walking back from Jack’s seminar with then PhD student Rue Burch and discussing how entrenched sociopsychological concepts like attitudes and motivation could be respecified from a DP perspective, which is exactly what Rue ended up doing in his dissertation. Matt Prior’s now longstanding research program on emotion in multilingual interaction was originally inspired by reading Edwards and Potter in Jack’s seminar.

Of course Jack’s classes also introduced us to his own research. One of his most important pedagogical achievements, to my mind, was to give students specimen or cases that instructed us how to critically read the CA literature itself, identify problems, and try our hand at solutions, as he did, for instance, in his work on preference. And then, showing us how to develop an original, innovative research approach one step at a time, through patient, serious, sustained, focused engagement with the analytical problems, always grounded in meticulously documented empirical evidence. Students in Discursive Practices and Jack’s seminars have been incredible fortunate to be participant-observers in the development of Occasioned Semantics. Much of what we have learned from Jack’s teaching, writing and mentoring on the topic has made an appearance in dissertations and publications. There is more to come.

When I was on sabbatical in Fall 2019, the entire cohort of my current PhD students took Jack Bilmes’ seminar on Category and Formulation, and he generously took over as their mentor. Little did he or they know that the seminar was going to be his last. During the pandemic he continued to participate in our online data sessions. In September 2020, he gave us a talk on a section of his forthcoming paper Delineating Categories in Verbal Interaction, the article on which his talk for today was going to be based. It was a privilege for his students and colleagues to discuss our teacher’s final paper with him.

(1) Bilmes, J. (in press). Delineating categories in verbal interaction. Discourse Studies.

Guest Blog: EM/CA for Racial Justice

There is an intriguing and welcome movement in EM/CA circles recommending that more be done by scholars to engage with social issues. Prime among these issues is racism, and I’m delighted that three early-career academics, Eleonora Sciubba, Natasha Shrikant and Francesca Williamson have agreed to report on their and their colleagues’ efforts to apply EM/CA perspectives on the issue.

The authors of this post [1] are members of a working group entitled, EMCA4RJ—or EMCA for Racial Justice—that was started in June 2020 [2] The purpose of this group is to foreground race and racism as central issues in the EMCA community. 

EMCA approaches are well-suited for addressing racial justice aims through deconstructing how race and racism are constituted in everyday interaction. Some scholars, for example, have analyzed ways that broader phenomena such as racism, whiteness, or anti-racism occur through specific interactional moves like categorization (Shrikant, 2020; Whitehead, 2020) or extreme case re-formulations (Robles, 2015). More generally, however, race, racism, and racial justice have been understudied in the EMCA community. This post provides examples of ways that can change.

Research Practices: Four suggestions

Since Sacks (1984), “unmotivated looking” has been the watchword of EM/CA. However, as philosophers (e.g., Chalmers, 2013) have argued, the practice of observation in scientific and social inquiry is tied to and shaped by researchers’ experiences, cultures, expectations, and academic training. In other words, who we (analysts) are and our experiences shape what we notice; what we can observe in social interaction. 

We suggest a motivated looking approach that leverages tools within (categorization) and outside (race/racism) of EMCA. This approach involves taking racism, a social fact, as a starting point for inquiry. We can begin with searching for instances when social actors do race, examine how racial categories are implicated in social actions, and consider the interactional and social consequences of these categorization practices. 

  1. To do this, we must first build racially and ethnically diverse EMCA research teams that focus on race and racism-in-interaction studies. Analysts who experience racism in their everyday lives may meet the unique adequacy requirement (Garfinkel, 2002) and can thereby improve our ability to notice and describe racialization and racism.
  2. Second, we should build collections focused on race and racism, as has been done with gender (e.g., Kitzinger & Frith, 1999; Speer & Stokoe, 2011), to examine instances when racialization is achieved in interaction. As Rawls and Duck (2020) suggested: “[r]acism does not usually take an obvious form that we can see and prevent; rather it masquerades as the most ordinary of daily actions: as unnoticed and ever-present as the air we breathe.” (p. 1). Thus, racialization and racism are likely designedly ambiguous or elusive. They need further interrogation.
  3. Third, we argue for more use of Membership Categorization Analysis (MCA). Though some scholars have done so (e.g., Robles, 2015; Shrikant, 2020; Whitehead, 2020), more work is needed. For example, scholars can explore how category-bound activities or predicates are tied to racial categories, search for instances when race categories are positioned categories, or how particular membership categorization devices (MCDs) are produced in ways that may be marginalizing yet remain open to the ways that categorizations are produced and negotiated in interaction.
  4. Finally, we should pursue new topics of inquiry through respecification projects as has been pursued for studies of social life in ethnomethodology (Garfinkel, 1991) and psychological constructs in discursive psychology (Potter, 2012), for example. In what settings have scholars documented racial inequities? What interactional materials might be available for EMCA studies in these settings?

Pedagogical practices

Conversation Analysis has a history of drawing teaching resources from audio and video data that are mostly anglophone, recorded either in the US or the UK, and feature White people, simply because they are already available and widely known within the discipline.

The problem with using “traditional EMCA data” for teaching is that it perpetuates a White, Anglocentric worldview that could make non-White students feel disconnected or excluded from the field. Moreover, it is difficult to draw connections between EMCA tools (e.g., adjacency pairs, categorization) and racism in these traditional data, as neither is readily visible as relevant, and the data are not taught or interrogated as examples of ‘Whiteness’

We propose teaching EMCA through using data:

  • a) from linguistically and ethnically diverse people and
  • b) where issues of race, racism, and intersecting inequalities appear as relevant.

Teachers can draw from data collected by scholars who work with diverse participants such as Rawls and Duck (2020) (African American), Shrikant (2018) (Asian American), or Whitehead (2020) (makes Whiteness visible in South African contexts). Teachers can also draw data from current events where race and racism appear relevant (we provide an example below). Equally, we encourage CA teachers to draw on and value the expertise of their diverse students. In line with practices of inclusive pedagogy, teachers should treat the differences among learners as a strength for analyzing data. Asking students to reflect on ways they arrived at a particular interpretation of data aligns with ethnomethodological approaches to research (Garfinkel, 1967). To this end, EMCA4RJ is developing practical resources—a syllabus, a data set including audio/video clips and transcriptions, and suggested lesson plans—and will share these resources to help put inclusive pedagogy into practice for EMCA teaching.

Community Building Practices: The EMCA Data Session

Data sessions bring EMCA together as a community of practice, or a community defined and maintained through participation in shared practices with shared goals (Eckert & McConnell-Ginet, 1992). Although data sessions are collaborative, they are not constituted by egalitarian relationships. Participants do boundary work about the kinds of contributions to a data session that are considered reasonable, appropriate, or within the bounds of EMCA analysis (e.g., Antaki et al, 2008). In some ways, clear boundaries and guidelines are useful, yet in other ways they are limiting. 

Traditional conversation analysis data sessions do not address questions about race and racism. Many of us in EMCA4RJ have had the experience of attempting to make claims about racism in a data session only to be told that racism has ‘not been made relevant’ by the participants. Ignoring race, denying its relevance, or simply the inability to see race and racism in interaction are indicative of a White worldview (Bonilla-Silva, 2006). In EMCA4RJ, we challenge this worldview through conducting data sessions that leverage the tools from CA to deconstruct the ways that race and racism are made relevant in everyday interaction. During our data sessions, we help scholars support their noticings of race and racism through using EMCA tools instead of dismissing these noticings as outside of EMCA frameworks. As part of EMCA4RJ, we are developing a document of guidelines for inclusive data sessions to share widely in hopes of encouraging other data session groups to operate in a more inclusive fashion. Below is an example of an EMCA4RJ data session from February 5, 2021 where we analyzed racist discourse in an interview between Gayle King and Miya Ponsetto [3].

The clip can be accessed here.

Overall, we argue that the suggested research, teaching, and community-building practices will help transform the EMCA community to include more diverse scholars and more research on topics like race, racism, and Whiteness. It is in these ways that we can highlight ways that EMCA approaches can serve racial justice aims.  

References

Antaki, C., Biazzi, M., Nissen, A. & Wagner, J. (2008). Accounting for moral judgments in academic talk: The case of a conversation analysis data session. Text & Talk, 28(1), 1–30. doi: 10.1515/TEXT.2008.001

Bonilla-Silva, E. (2006). Racism without racists: Color-blind racism and the persistence of racial inequality in the United States. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

Chalmers, A. F. (2013). What is this thing called science (4th ed.). Hackett Publishing Company

Crenshaw, K., Gotanda, N., Peller, G., & Thomas, K. (Eds.) (1995). Critical race theory: The key writings that formed the movement. New York: The New Press.

Eckert, P., & McConnell-Ginet, S. (1992). Think practically and look locally: Language and gender as community-based practice. Annual review of anthropology, 21(1), 461-488.

Garfinkel, H. (1967). Studies in ethnomethodology. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

Garfinkel, H. (1991). Respecifcation: Evidence for locally produced, naturally accountable phenomena of order*, logic, reason, meaning, method, etc. in and as of the essential haecceity of immortal ordinary society, (I) – an announcement of studies. In G. Button (Ed.) Ethnomethodology and the human sciences (pp. 10-19). Cambridge University Press. 

Garfinkel, H. (2002). Ethnomethodology’s program: Working out Durkheim’s aphorism. Rowman & Littlefield. 

Kitzinger, C., & Frith, H. (1999). Just say no? The use of conversation analysis in developing a feminist perspective on sexual refusal. Discourse & Society, 10(3), 293-316. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/42888261

Potter, J. (2012). Discourse analysis and discursive psychology. In Cooper, H. (Ed.), APA handbook of research methods in psychology: Vol. 2. Quantitative, qualitative, neuropsychological, and biological (pp. 111-130).Washington, DC: American Psychological Association Press

Rawls, A. W., & Duck, W. (2020). Tacit racism. The University of Chicago Press.

Robles, J. S. (2015). Extreme case (re) formulation as a practice for making hearably racist talk repairable. Journal of Language and Social Psychology34(4), 390-409.

Sacks, H. (1984). Notes on methodology. In J. M. Atkinson & J. Heritage (Eds.) Structures of social action: Studies in conversation analysis (pp. 21-27). Cambridge University Press.

Shrikant, N. (2018). “There’s no such thing as Asian”: A membership categorization analysis of cross-cultural adaptation in an Asian American business community. Journal of International and Intercultural Communication, 11(4), 286-303. doi: 10.1080/17513057.2018.1478986

Shrikant, N. (2020). Membership Categorization Analysis of Racism in an Online Discussion among Neighbors. Language in Society. doi: 10.1017/S0047404520000846

Speer, S. A., & Stokoe, E. (2011). Conversation and gender. Cambridge University Press.

Whitehead, K. A. (2020). The problem of context in the analysis of social action: The case of implicit whiteness in post-apartheid South Africa. Social Psychology Quarterly, 83(3), 294-313.


[1] This piece was a collaborative product, where all authors made equally significant contributions. We also would like to thank Jessica Robles for her thoughtful feedback on an earlier draft. Last, we drew many ideas from our participation in EMCA4RJ and from the following thread https://twitter.com/Nat_Shri/status/1298640326488395777?s=20.   

[2]  http://emca4rj.conversationanalysis.org/; contact Natasha Shrikant (natasha.shrikant@colorado.edu) if interested in joining or learning more.

[3] See Video Clips, Transcript, and Excerpt of Data Session here: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/145rI1ZI3lQF43DOxKTNJ-5cDK1f631OS?usp=sharing

Guest Blog: What it’s like to take up a new job in Finland

CA is in demand in many University departments, but scattered far and wide. Here’s the account of one early career researcher, Fabio Ferraz de Almeida, who has made the huge move from Brazil to Finland. Fabio had done his PhD in the UK with Loughborough’s DARG, so it wasn’t a completely unfamiliar move; but Jyväskylä is not the same as the East Midlands…

Fabio Ferraz de Almeida

What would you do if you noticed the pedestrian traffic lights turning red just before you started crossing a street? In Brazil and the UK, and in many other parts of the world, I assume, people would cross the street as long as they saw none vehicle coming. In Finland, however, this is not the case. I would say that one of the best ways for ‘doing being Finnish’ is to wait patiently for the red lights to turn green before crossing a street, regardless of whether any vehicles were in sight.

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How do I get published in ROLSI?

A couple of years ago we published a blog of a roundtable between the editor and a group of CA scholars at Linköping University, discussing ROLSI’s editorial practices. One of those researchers, Professor Leelo Keevallik, is now the Associate Editor of the journal, and she and I are very pleased to revisit some of those issues. We’re very grateful indeed to Dr Marina Cantarutti, one of global CA’s most active and well-connected early career researchers, for posing us questions which will be of interest to all, but especially those who are submitting for the first time.

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Guest Blog: A new book on “Recruitment” across cultures


Over the last few years, Conversation Analysis researchers have moved well beyond the American English origins data that the founders used; in ROLSI, for example, it’s quite normal that English be only one of three or four different languages studied in any one issue. But what is really exciting is when a research team takes on a big, cross-cultural project, and I’m very happy to have Giovanni Rossi, N. J. Enfield and Mark Dingemanse tell us about their admirable new collection – and it’s open-access, too.

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Guest blog: Synchronising Musical Performance Interaction

The ways that musicians synchronise their performances is delicate matter of gestures, gaze, body movement and sequencing;. If they try to do it over even the best of broadband connections, complications can arise. I’m delighted that Sam Duffy, who is both a musician and well versed in interaction analysis, can tell us something about the interrelationship between the two in a time when most of us are still coming to terms with online interaction.

Sam Duffy, Royal Northern College of Music

COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on the Performing Arts. Professional performers and composers have had their future income stream wiped out overnight (and for the foreseeable future). Students are struggling to finish their graded year-end recitals or oversee recordings of their work as they were originally imagined. Amateur and community choirs and orchestras can no longer get together at a time when the social aspect would be a valuable support. Members of professional ensembles cannot maintain their repertoire, or work on new material together to perform once restrictions are lifted. 

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Studying Video Consultations: How do we record data ethically during COVID-19?

Lockdown in many countries has affected the way in which healthcare workers interact with their patients. In the UK, for example, a number of medical consultations have gone online, with doctors trying to deal with their patients over Zoom or Skype – and it has not been easy. Lucas Seuren has been working in Oxford in a team actively exploring the costs and benefits of online medical consultation, and I’m delighted that he has agreed to send in a report from the front line.

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Lucas Seuren, Oxford University

The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has radically changed the organisation of healthcare services. Social distancing protocols mean that face-to-face contact between patients and health care professionals has to be limited as much as possible. Consultations are now mostly conducted by telephone or video. This provides a unique opportunity for EMCA research on healthcare interaction, but also a significant challenge. Little is still known about how communication works in these remote service models, and as experts on social interaction, we are in a prime position to develop evidence-based guidance. The problem is: how do we get data when we cannot go to places where the interaction take place? Continue reading

Guest Blog: A research visit to Helsinki during the pandemic

Sometimes a much-anticipated research visit to a centre of excellence coincides with an unforeseen set of circumstances. That’s what happened to Rachael Drewery, who turned up in Helsinki only to be caught up in the Finnish lockdown. She tells her tale…

Rachael Drewery

Rachael Drewery, Nottingham University

On 18th February, when reports about COVID were found in the middle of UK newspapers, I commenced a three month research visit with the Emotions in Interaction team at the University of Helsinki.  Little did I know that four weeks later I would be conducting a research visit, via online platforms, during a global pandemic. Continue reading

Guest blog: A philosopher looks at Conversation Analysis

Coming across an interview with Susan Notess on the excellent Generous Questions philosophy podcast, I was intrigued by her perspective, as an ethicist, on the dangers of language – and delighted that she used the work of conversation analysts Liz Stokoe and Nick Enfield, among others, to illustrate her argument. She very kindly agreed to write a guest blog,  introducing us to a wider horizon of scholarship about the human conversational contract.

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Susan Notess, Durham University

There’s something about language which resembles conductivity. Through it we connect with each other and transmit not just stories, but also fears; not just kindness, but also power. To be able to speak and say what one means is a kind of power, and to be robbed of this power is a kind of injustice. Continue reading