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Social Interaction and Professional Communication

Understanding language and social interaction to help improve effective communication.

Examining language and social interaction

We often use video recordings of real-life interactions as our data for analysis. We examine the detail of language and social interaction. We aim to reveal effective communication practices. We also look at issues and problems which new policies and training can help to tackle.

Our analytic approach is ‘multimodal’. We take into consideration the many resources that people use. We want to help achieve their various social and institutional goals.

We have a long history of research expertise in language and social interaction. We are particularly interested in professional, intercultural, and language learning contexts.

For over 20 years, our team have been producing world-leading research. We cover classroom discourse and second language use outside of the classroom.

Our research methods

This includes bodily conduct and the use of the material environment, alongside spoken language. We use a wide range of research methods for our analysis of interaction.

They include:

  • ethnomethodological interaction analysis
  • conversation analysis
  • multimodal analysis
  • membership categorisation Analysis
  • discourse analysis

Our teaching and research in this area considers many areas of research. They include:

  • interaction in reflective practice and professional development
  • second language teaching and testing
  • technologically-mediated language teaching
  • international and multilingual workplaces
  • the arts

Effective training

We produce training and training materials to promote more effective communication.

For example, we have produced web-based advice packages developed for people in the UK. We will translate and adapt for audiences in the global South. This includes medical students and professionals in Malaysia.

We are also developing communication training materials. They can assist professionals engaged in the delivery of arts workshops for people living with dementia. They can also help those involved in the care sector more generally.

Global research community

We focus on collaborative research in this area. We have a large community of research students conducting PhD projects. They use discourse and interaction analysis methods in second language and intercultural settings.

Our Multimodal Analysis Research Group (MARG) has been running data sessions on a weekly basis since 2007. We also have established links to communities of language and social interaction researchers. Some work out of UK institutions, while others are overseas, including Japan, Turkey, Denmark and Switzerland.