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ALC8012 : Language and Social Interaction

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Adam Brandt
  • Lecturer: Dr Spencer Hazel
  • Owning School: Education, Communication & Language Sci
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
  • Capacity limit: 30 student places

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System


This module introduces students to a way of understanding and appreciating how human social interaction is systematically organised. Throughout the module, students will engage in hands-on, practical examinations of real life examples of communicative encounters in order to develop understandings of social interaction. In the initial four weeks, students will consider some general principles of social interaction. In the remaining weeks, interaction in specific contexts will be examined. This will include intercultural interaction, multilingual interaction, international workplaces interaction, and interaction involving digital technologies. Students will also consider how this research is applied to improve real life communicative practice.

Students will be introduced to the methodologies of Conversation Analysis (CA) and Membership Categorisation Analysis (MCA), as well as the Ethnomethodological (EM) theoretical approach which underpins these methodologies. The core principles and concepts of these methodologies will be introduced and discussed, and key research within the field will be focussed upon.

In addition to the theory and findings of the methodologies of CA and MCA, students will be encouraged to develop their practical research and analytic skills through the assessed work, by planning, preparing and conducting a small research project. This will involve (1) selecting and transcribing a piece of audio/video data, as well as (2) analysing the selected data and producing a written report of their analytic observations, identifying links to previous research in the field, and discussing them in terms of their theoretical and practical implications for social interaction.

Students’ knowledge and skills development will also be supported throughout the module via group work in the form of practical tasks, discussions, transcription training and collaborative data analysis.

Outline Of Syllabus

1. Introduction: why study social interaction?
2. Some basics of social interaction
3. ‘Repairing trouble’ in social interaction
4. Transcribing data for social interaction research
5. Institutional social interaction
6. Second language social interaction
7. Identities and interculturality in social interaction
8. Social justice and social interaction
9. Digital technologies for social interaction
10. Applications of social interaction research
11. Module summary and assessment preparation

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture103:0030:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion150:0050:00N/A
Guided Independent StudySkills practice110:0010:00N/A
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities102:0020:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops13:003:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery12:002:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study185:0085:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lecture sessions will introduce students to the theoretical aspects of the course, including the principles which underpin the methodologies and approaches relevant to the module. Students will be introduced to relevant theory and research literature, which they will be expected to read during independent study time.

Lecture sessions will be interactive, however, allowing for small and whole group discussions, which will be led by the lecturer. Practical activities will be used throughout, in order link the theory and analysis of data to students’ real life experiences of communicating, particularly in international, intercultural, and digital contexts. Discussions will also allow for students to consider how they would conduct social interaction research (i.e. collecting appropriate data in the form of video recordings). These discussions and practical activities will be student-focussed, but led by the lecturer.

Practical activities will also provide students with opportunities to further practice and strengthen their analytic skills, and receive training in how to transcribe the video recordings they select, in accordance with the transcription conventions of the approach taught. This will enable students to put the theoretical aspects of the module into practice, by attempting to analyse example data, as well as one another’s data. This will also create opportunities for students to learn from one another, as well as to reflect upon the development of their own understanding and analytic skills relevant to the module content.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Case study1M20Student to select and transcribe audio/video data, for analysis in assessment 2, with 500-750 word summary of the data selected.
Research paper1A80Empirical paper of 3,000 words (excluding data transcripts)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The assessment is designed to reflect the intended knowledge and skills outcomes of the module, as well as to match the main contents of the course. Assessment 1 – the selection, editing and transcription of audio/video data – will serve as preparation for assessment 2 – a written report – which will include analysis of the data from assessment 1, as well as linking the analytic findings of the data to theoretical and practical implications within the areas of second language use and intercultural communication.

More specifically, assessment 1 will evaluate the development of students’ skills in selection appropriate data – an important element in any research project – as well as to examine their abilities to use the necessary hardware and software for the editing and transcription of data. Additionally, accurate data transcription will reflect students’ understanding of theoretical underpinnings of the methodologies being taught.

Additionally, assessment 2 will assess students’ development of analytic skills, which will again display their appreciation of relevant theory. Students will also be required to relate their own analytic observations to previous theory and research findings within the field (thus displaying their achievement of knowledge outcomes), as well as to discuss their observations in broader theoretical and/or practical terms (again, requiring them to demonstrate their achievement of intended knowledge outcomes).

Reading Lists