Cameron, D. 2001. “Collecting Data: Practical and Ethical Considerations.” (Class Notes 1/21/2015)

Cameron, Deborah. 2001.  “Collecting Data: Practical and Ethical Considerations.” In Working with Spoken Discourse, pp. 19-31.  London: Sage Publishers.

Spoken language data – audio/video of people talking à transcript à representation of talk in written/graphic form. Finding out how “talk works” – taking on the role of “observer, bystander, or eavesdropper”  (19).  However, “Observers’ Paradox” – how to get people to converse naturally when people are being observed? Academic privileging of ‘ordinary talk’ – versus ‘institutional’ talk.  Ordinary talk as considered more egalitarian by some, however, feminists understand power-privilege through ordinary interactions. Necessity of acknowledging cultural difference.  Issues of consent in making ‘private’ talk ‘public’ through academic review. Tip – leave interviews on tape, or untranscribed. Issues of consent and assent in broadcast material – yes, this may be publicly available, however the research capacity may be impacted by educational and research restrictions – media talk should not be substituted for ‘ordinary’ talk. Issues of researching internet discourse- “A collection of linguistic data is known as a corpus (Latin for ‘body*; the plural is corpora), and the availability of more and more corpora on-line (though it should be noted that users may have to pay to access them) is an important recent development”(27) – however, only offers a written transcript for the context. “Tagging” – coding for volume, pitch, and pattern. Sampling as an important methodological decision – size of sample, who will be interviewed, length of interview. (^Inaccurately presumes that the number of interviews and the hour-length of sample set is more important to social scientists than it is to linguists.) Linguistic sample sizes are often very small. Recommends Hammersley and Atkinson (1995) and Silverman (1997) for non-linguists.

Discourse Analysis 1/21/2015 Notes

Discourse analysis anywhere you find language – CDA often uses pre-existing text, and conversation analysis often looks at recordings (audio, video).  Ethics in DA – often requires informed consent.  Informed (what data is for, who will see it, potential risks, practices of anonymity/confidentiality, basic ethical considerations). “Good data” for discourse analysis: ‘naturally-occurring’, overcoming Observer’s Paradox. Tips- focus groups, leave recorder on with subjects, unexpected recording with pre-gained consent, interview close friends and relatives, cut out beginning of recording (converse and build rapport prior), offer question of “when was a moment that you almost died?” to break the ice with intense question, and proceed with lesser questions.

How to discern audience –  “Bell’s Audience Design” – ( – 1984 – how speakers adjust their speech to convey intimacy/rapport or distance, based upon audience types as follows: Addressee – listeners who are known, ratified, and addressed; Auditor – listeners who are not directly addressed, but are known and ratified; Overhearer – non-ratified listeners of whom the speaker is aware; Eavesdropper – non-ratified listeners of whom the speaker is unaware

Single speakers – how people construct self-stories (“narratives”), public speaking (i.e. addresses of politicians, etc.), identity construction, Critical Discourse Analysis

Participants in an Interaction – conversation analysis, interactional sociology

Dyads – putting people together to see communication patterns

Oo~ (Bucholtz 1999 – Brand One- re: racist speech patterns)

***Within a sociolinguistic frame, you cannot speak to a speaker’s intent – this is psychological; instead focus on “uptake” – people’s responses to statements. Background and identity of speakers are only available if they are brought up within the conversation – otherwise, off-limits; particularly in conversation analysis.  However, CDA (and historical contexts behind symbols/language) more thoroughly addresses this, as it incorporates more “speakers” in its use of language, so to speak.


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