Misunderstandings, communicative expectations and resources in illness narratives: Insights from beyond interview transcripts

Authors

  • Jamie Murdoch University of East Anglia
  • Charlotte Salter University of East Anglia
  • Jane Cross University of East Anglia
  • Fiona Poland University of East Anglia

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.1558/cam.v10i2.153

Keywords:

context, discourse, illness narratives, linguistic ethnography, misunderstandings, research interviews

Abstract

Interactional misunderstandings in interviews are often glossed over in analysing narratives, so overlooking important clues about how interactants frame the interview discussion. Such misunderstandings will influence ongoing talk, shaping knowledge researchers produce about participants. We discuss whether interpretations of illness narratives may be enhanced if we analyse misunderstandings in conjunction with other contextually-available data not visible within interview transcripts. Using research interviews with people with asthma, we adopted linguistic ethnographic methods to analyse the manifestation and specific consequences of interactional tensions and misunderstandings between interviewer and interviewee. Misunderstandings can indicate inequalities in communicative expectations and discursive resources available to interactants, which may lead to participants’ talk being inappropriately identified as indicating a particular narrative. Incorporating ethnographic contextual features may make visible pertinent discourses not overtly evident within interviews. This may help theorise interview talk, like health and illness narratives, as manifesting within cycles of discourse that will intersect differently in each interaction.

Author Biographies

Jamie Murdoch, University of East Anglia

Jamie Murdoch received his PhD in medicine-taking narratives from the University of East Anglia, where he is currently Senior Research Associate in urgent care. His research interests include patient–provider communication, technology and care systems. His most recent publication is ‘Resisting medications: Moral discourses and performances in illness narratives’ (2013, Sociology of Health & Illness).

Charlotte Salter, University of East Anglia

Charlotte Salter is a social scientist and Senior Lecturer in consultation skills at the University of East Anglia.

Jane Cross, University of East Anglia

Jane Cross is a Senior Lecturer and Physiotherapist at the University of East Anglia.

Fiona Poland, University of East Anglia

Fiona Poland is a sociologist and Senior Lecturer in health and society at the University of East Anglia.

Published

2014-03-11

How to Cite

Murdoch, J., Salter, C., Cross, J., & Poland, F. (2014). Misunderstandings, communicative expectations and resources in illness narratives: Insights from beyond interview transcripts. Communication and Medicine, 10(2), 153-163. https://doi.org/10.1558/cam.v10i2.153

Issue

Section

Articles