Language based on books

Language and social interaction


The study of language and communication has been one of the Department’s core research areas for four decades. We have an international reputation for our work in basic and applied conversation analysis, and have additional expertise in areas such as discourse analysis, and the study of gesture in interaction.

Members of this cluster have attracted a wide range of external funding, from UK and European sources. Current and previous research projects include:

  • basic structures in the organisation of conversation (for example, turn-taking and repair)
  • a Department of Work and Pensions project examining the effectiveness of work-focused interviews in Job Centres
  • studies of medical interactions (for example on patients' participation in decision making in clinical settings)
  • research on help-line interaction across a range of health-related charities
  • investigation of interaction between experimenter and participants in laboratory-based psychological experiments
  • study of identity management in young women’s conversation
  • the language of police and suspects in investigative interviews
  • the social organisation of musical master classes

Members of the cluster are also involved in the interdisciplinary Centre for Advanced Studies in Language and Communication, which has convened the two International Conferences on CA and Clinical Encounters (in 2011 and 2013).

Research projects

Evaluating nuanced practices for initiating decision making in neurology clinics - Dr Merran Toerien, Dr Clare Jackson and Dr Paul Chappell

Reproductive justice? A critical examination of abortion law and practice in the UK and South Africa - Dr Merran Toerien and Dr Siân Beynon-Jones

The interpretation and evaluation of meaningful coincidences suggestive of psi communication in everyday life - Prof Robin Wooffitt



Staff members

Clare Jackson - Conversation analysis; gender; sexuality; healthcare

Darren Reed - Human-computer interaction; health and intelligent communication systems; social informatics; performativity and identity

Merran Toerien - Institutional interaction; healthcare; conversation analysis

Robin Wooffitt - Language and interaction; anomalous experiences; communication and consciousness

PhD Students

Sarah Roberts - Emotional Labour, Therapeutic and Ethical Complexities of Mediumship and Psychic Consultations

Melahat Sahin-Dikmen - The nature of professional work and dynamics of professional employment

Germaine Guenther - The interpretation and evaluation of meaningful coincidence

Geraldine Bengsch - Intercultural politeness and the perception of service quality

Hyangmi Choi - Cultural differences in the relationships between audience responses and the use of verbal and nonverbal devices in political speeches

Hoi Lun Chi - Conversation Analysis in Social Interaction

Rachael Hayward - Social Interaction in paranormal research groups 

Isaac Hughes - Sociological Analysis of Communications from (purported) Non-Human Entities

- Conversation Analysis in epilepsy encounters

Nermeen Sayed - Communication Studies. The social Impact of Using Internet Forums: Online Self Presentation Among Egyptian Youth