Conversation analysis and talk-extrinsic data in research on speech and language therapy


  • Charlotta Plejert Linköping University
  • Christina Samuelsson Linköping University
  • Jan Anward Linköping University



adults with aphasia, children with language impairment, conversation analysis, intervention, speech and language therapy, talk-extrinsic data


The present article addresses the issue of combining conversation analysis (CA) with talk-extrinsic data, with a specific focus on speech and language therapy and education. Even though the use of CA together with other data sources is now generally accepted, particularly in the field of ‘applied CA’, it is still important to discuss how this is to be done, what pitfalls to avoid, and what methodological problems might remain unresolved. The procedures from a Swedish project on interaction in speech and language intervention that combines CA with interviews and video-based retrospection sessions are used as a basis for discussion. It is stressed that the fruitfulness of combining CA with talk-extrinsic data is strongly related to what research questions are asked, and what values are ascribed to different empirical materials in relation to the overall aims of a project. The article also addresses the potential risks of a methodology such as CA when it is turned into ‘just a tool’ for detailed transcription. Unless continuous attention is paid to CA’s origin and its use for applied purposes, it might become ‘bleached’, in the sense that it becomes solely a technique, and its theoretical and methodological underpinnings get forgotten.

Author Biographies

Charlotta Plejert, Linköping University

Charlotta Plejert is an Associate Professor in the Department of Culture and Communication at Linköping University, Sweden. Her research interests include conversation analysis, second language interaction and learning, and communicative disabilities in children and adults, particularly children with language impairment, adults with aphasia, and adults with dementia. She is co-editor of the Journal of Interactional Research in Communication Disorders.

Christina Samuelsson, Linköping University

Christina Samuelsson received her PhD in Speech and Language Pathology from Lund University, Sweden and is currently Associate Professor of Speech and Language Pathology at Linköping University. Her research mainly concerns how people with communicative disabilities interact and use language, with a specific focus on prosody. She is editor- in-chief of Logopedics Phoniatrics Vocology, and reviewer for several journals within the field of speech and language pathology.

Jan Anward, Linköping University

Jan Anward (1947–2016) was Professor of Language and Culture at Linköping University, Sweden. His principal research interests were the emergence and development of linguistic resources in various interactional contexts, language as a dynamic system, speech therapy, life-long language learning, and the place of individual voices in interactional and cultural contexts.


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How to Cite

Plejert, C., Samuelsson, C., & Anward, J. (2019). Conversation analysis and talk-extrinsic data in research on speech and language therapy. Communication and Medicine, 14(2), 150–164.