Persuasive communication

Centre for Language Studies | Faculty of Arts | Radboud University Nijmegen

Workshop developing methods for the microanalysis of online data, 9-10 January, Nijmegen

The plethora of different types of online data, from text-rich discussion, e-mail and blogs to the shorter messages found in social media such as Facebook and Twitter, and synchronous online communication such as internet relay chat (IRC), create new methodological issues at the level of microanalysis – the intensive study of language use typically found in traditions such as conversation analysis, discursive psychology and discourse analysis.

There is a diverse variety of qualitative and quantitative methods to analyse such data. It is important to distinguish between communication media because they each problematize different aspects of method: asynchronous vs. quasi-synchronous, dyadic vs. multiparty (participation framework), archival organisation (threads), institutional interaction through various channels (e-mail and chat, telephone and chat), each relating to turn taking, sequence organisation and other interactional facets. In this workshop the relevance of mediated context to the qualitative microanalysis of online data will be discussed, using the participants’ own online data. In addition to the thematic sessions, a demonstration will be given on the use of Atlas.ti-software for analysing online data.

Among the specific topics to be covered are:

  • Using techniques and concepts from conversation analysis in the analysis of online data;
  • The relevance of the online/offline divide for the study of online communities;
  • Challenges in applying methodologies developed for speech to the study of written communication;
  • The use of qualitative software for analyzing online data;
  • Developing methodologies for specific data formats (e.g. discussion threads);
  • Comparative analysis of interaction through various channels;
  • Ethical issues in analysing online data;
  • Situating microanalytic techniques within broader research frameworks in the study of online communities.

The short-term aim of this workshop is to have a special issue in a renowned journal on methodological issues around the microanalysis of online data. The long-term aim is to build a network of qualitative researchers who study online communication in order to move forward the development of new and/or adapted methodologies that can better inform data analysis in the social sciences and humanities.

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