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Conversation Analysis and Frame Analysis combined. A proposal to study the use of language in paediatric surgical visits.

Isabella Martini
Università degli Studi di Firenze

Published 2023-06-05


This article applies tools and concepts of Frame Analysis and Conversation Analysis to a database of audio-recorded and transcribed paediatric surgical visits, collected for the purpose of the study, to conduct a linguistic analysis of their communicative challenges. The database used for the analysis is composed of almost one hundred paediatric surgical visits, divided into first visits and check-up visits. It was decided to focus on first visits due to their complex patterns of interactions. The concepts of turn taking, of adjacency pairs, and of sequences from Conversation Analysis (CA), with CA also providing the transcription conventions, provide the analytical tools to describe the linguistic organisation of the interactions. The concepts of frame and of structures of expectation taken from Frame Analysis are used to understand which types of conflicts arose during the interactions. Frequent communicative problems usually concern the delivery of the diagnosis (Heritage – McArthur 2019), because of its brevity and speed, of parents’ misunderstanding of referents and of parents’ emotions. A possible solution is suggested to improve the quality of the diagnostic moment, to make the subsequent information exchange less challenging the overall interaction more satisfying.


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