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The Handbook of Conversation Analysis by Tanya Stivers, Jack Sidnell

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3

 The Conversation Analytic Approach to Data Collection

LORENZA MONDADA

University of Basel

Introduction

Conversation analysts use audio and video recordings of naturally occurring activities to study the details of action as they are temporally and sequentially arranged, moment-by-moment, by the participants within the very context of their activity. The goal of this chapter is to describe the ways in which CA scholars collect data, as well as to explain how these techniques fit with the underlying assumptions of the CA approach—what Schenkein (1978a) calls the “analytical mentality” of CA. In addition, I will show that the particular kinds of data that conversation analysts collect have specific consequences in terms of the analyses they make possible. The chapter is structured as follows: first, I remind the reader of CA’s naturalistic stance which motivates the use of actual recordings of naturally occurring interactions. Second, I discuss the range of materials which have been used within CA and relate these different kinds of data to the development of audio and video recording technologies. Third, I focus on data collection as a situated practice, including the steps involved in preparing to record and also in processing the recordings after they have been made. Finally, I discuss the relationship between the phenomena studied within CA and the specific techniques for recording them.

Why Record Naturally Occurring Social Interactions?

In their 1974 study of turn-taking, ...

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