Misunderstandings, communicative expectations and resources in illness narratives: Insights from beyond interview transcripts
Issue: Vol 10 No. 2 (2013)
Journal: Communication & Medicine
Interactional misunderstandings in interviews are often glossed over in analysing narratives, so overlooking important clues about how interactants frame the interview discussion. Such misunderstandings will influence ongoing talk, shaping knowledge researchers produce about participants. We discuss whether interpretations of illness narratives may be enhanced if we analyse misunderstandings in conjunction with other contextually-available data not visible within interview transcripts. Using research interviews with people with asthma, we adopted linguistic ethnographic methods to analyse the manifestation and specific consequences of interactional tensions and misunderstandings between interviewer and interviewee. Misunderstandings can indicate inequalities in communicative expectations and discursive resources available to interactants, which may lead to participants’ talk being inappropriately identified as indicating a particular narrative. Incorporating ethnographic contextual features may make visible pertinent discourses not overtly evident within interviews. This may help theorise interview talk, like health and illness narratives, as manifesting within cycles of discourse that will intersect differently in each interaction.
Author: Jamie Murdoch, Charlotte Salter, Jane Cross, Fiona Poland
Atkinson, J. M. and Drew, P. (1979) Order in Court: The Organization of Verbal Interaction in Judicial Settings. London: Macmillan.
Barry, C. A., Bradley, C. P., Britten, N., Stevenson, F. A. and Barber, N. (2000) Patients’ unvoiced agendas in general practice consultations: Qualitative study. British Medical Journal 320 (7244): 1246–1250. http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.320.7244.1246
Blommaert, J. (2005) Discourse: Key Topics in Sociolinguistics, 56–57. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Briggs, C. L. (1986) Learning How to Ask: A Sociolinguistic Appraisal of the Role of the Interview in Social Science Research. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139165990
Britten, N., Stevenson, F. A., Barry, C. A., Barber, N. and Bradley, C. P. (2000) Misunderstandings in prescribing decisions in general practice: Qualitative study. British Medical Journal 320 (7233): 484–488. http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.320.7233.484
Cicourel, A. V. (1992) The interpenetration of communicative contexts: Examples from medical encounters. In A. Duranti and C. Goodwin (eds) Rethinking Context: Language as an Interactive Phenomenon, 291–310. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Denzin, N. K. (2001) The reflexive interview and a performative social science. Qualitative Research 1 (1): 23–46. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/146879410100100102
Goffman, E. (1974) Frame Analysis. Boston: Northeastern University Press.
Gumperz, J. L. (1999) On interactional sociolinguistic method. In S. Sarangi and C. Roberts (eds) Talk, Work and Institutional Order: Discourse in Medical, Mediation and Management Settings, 453–471. Berlin: Mouton De Gruyter.
Gwyn, R. (2002) Communicating Health and Illness. London: Sage.
Harris, R. and Rampton, B. (2009) Ethnicities without guarantees: An empirical approach. In M. Wetherell (ed.) Identity in the 21st Century: New Trends in Changing Times, 95–119. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Levinson, S. (1997) Contextualizing contextualization cues. In S. Eerdmans, C. L. Prevignano and P. J. Thibault (eds) Discussing Communication Analysis 1: John Gumperz, 24–30. Lausanne: Beta Press.
Lutfey, K. E. (2004) Assessment, objectivity and interaction: The case of patient compliance with medical treatment regimens. Social Psychology Quarterly 67 (4): 343–368. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/019027250406700402
Maynard, D. (2003) Bad News, Good News: Conversational Order in Everyday Talk and Clinical Settings. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Mishler, E. G. (1984) The Discourse of Medicine: Dialectics of Medical Interviews. Norwood, NJ: Ablex.
Mishler, E. G. (1991) Research Interviewing: Context and Narrative. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Murdoch, J. (2010) The Discursive Construction of Prophylactic Medicine Taking for People with Asthma: Interactional Issues and Moral Discourses. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of East Anglia, Norwich.
Murdoch, J., Poland, F. and Salter, C. (2010) Interactional contexts in a data-sharing focus group. Qualitative Health Research 20 (5): 582–594. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1049732310361612
Murdoch, J., Salter, C., Cross, J. and Poland, F. (2013) Resisting medications: Moral discourses and performances in illness narratives. Sociology of Health & Illness 35 (3): 449–464. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9566.2012.01499.x
Price, D., Musgrave, S. D., Shepstone, L., Hillyer, E. V., Sims, E. J., Gilbert, R. F., Juniper, E. F., Ayres, J. G., Kemp, L., Blyth, A., Wilson, E. C., Wolfe, S., Freeman, D., Mugford, H. M., Murdoch, J. and Harvey, I. (2011) Leukotriene antagonists as first-line or add-on asthma-controller therapy. New England Journal of Medicine 364 (18): 1695–1707. http://dx.doi.org/10.1056/NEJMoa1010846
Radley, A. and Billig, M. (1996) Accounts of health and illness: Dilemmas and representations. Sociology of Health & Illness 18 (2): 220–240. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1467-9566.ep10934984
Rampton, B. K., Tusting, K., Maybin, J., Barwell, R., Creese, A. and Lytra, V. (2004) UK Linguistic Ethnography: A discussion paper. http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/fss/organisations/lingethn/documents/discussion_paper_jan_05.pdf
Roberts, C., Moss, B., Wass, V., Sarangi, S. and Jones, R. (2005) Misunderstandings: A qualitative study of primary care consultations in multilingual settings, and educational implications. Medical Education 39 (5): 465–475. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2929.2005.02121.x
Sarangi, S. (2003) Institutional, professional, and lifeworld frames in interview talk. In H. Van den Berg, M. Wetherell and H. Houtkoop-Steenstra (eds) Analyzing Race Talk: Multidisciplinary Perspectives on the Research Interview, 64–84. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Schegloff, E. (1987) Some sources of understanding in talk-in interaction. Linguistics 25 (1): 201–218. http://dx.doi.org/10.1515/ling.19220.127.116.11
Scollon, R. and Scollon, S. W. (2004) Nexus Analysis: Discourse and the Emerging Internet. New York and London: Routledge.
Seale, C. (1999) The Quality of Qualitative Research. London: Sage.
Talmy, S. (2011) The interview as collaborative achievement: Interaction, identity, and ideology in a speech event. Applied Linguistics 32 (1): 25–42. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/applin/amq027
Wooffitt, R. (2005) Conversation Analysis and Discourse Analysis. London: Sage.