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  • 00:00

    [MUSIC PLAYING][Discourse & Conversational Analytical Research Group:Indiana University Bloomington]

  • 00:17

    JESSICA LESTER: One of the thingsthat we were looking at last weekis this overarching structure of the way the meetings run.And how the procedures unfold became the primary pointof contestation.My name is Jessica Lester.I'm an assistant professor of inquiry methodologyin the School of Education at Indiana University.

  • 00:37

    JESSICA LESTER [continued]: I run the Discourse and Conversational AnalysisResearch Group, which is a research group thatwas designed to support students who are interested inand engaged in conversational analysis and discourseanalysis.[Jessica Lester, Assistant Professor, School of Education]Conversational analysis is a qualitative methodologythat studies talk in use, so the ways in which talkis organized sequentially.So for instance, you might be interested in turn

  • 00:58

    JESSICA LESTER [continued]: construction, how one speaker says hello and the next speakersays, hey, how you doing?A conversational analysts is alsoparticularly interested in the waysin which fundamental structures of talk are producedand what that does in producing social order, social life.So fundamentally, a conversational analystis going to often focus on the collection of naturallyoccurring data, so the data that occurs regardless

  • 01:20

    JESSICA LESTER [continued]: of the existence of a researcher, and study whathappens in everyday interactions and howthat produces social order and social life generally.So discourse analysis is a broad interdisciplinary fieldthat's broadly interested in the study of talk and textand the ways in which talk and text produce the social world.There are a variety or approachesto discourse analysis.

  • 01:40

    JESSICA LESTER [continued]: Post 1980s, there was really a proliferationof interest around discourse analysis,and therefore also proliferation of the approachesthat one might take to analyzing talk and text.These approaches range from critical discourse analysisto discursive psychology.They also include things like Bahktinian discourse analysisand Foucaultian discourse analysis,

  • 02:02

    JESSICA LESTER [continued]: and I could continue the list.But the point is that there are a variety of approaches.There are similarities across the approaches,but there's also really distinct differencesthat are often centering around the ways in which discourseis defined, which also then impactsthe way one might go about actuallyanalyzing the data itself.Broadly, discourse analysis is interested in the ways, number

  • 02:22

    JESSICA LESTER [continued]: one, that social life is playing outin the context of talk and text.Talk can include verbal and nonverbal.We can also think about talk as includingmacro issues like the notion of gendered talkor gendered discourse as being a macro type talk.We can also think about talk as being more micro.But in general, across those perspectives,the focus is really on how talk produces the social world

  • 02:46

    JESSICA LESTER [continued]: and how things like identity and thingslike everyday understanding are producedand how we go about writing and how we goabout talking to one another.Conversational analysis has historicallybeen applied to the study of mundane talk,so ordinary, everyday interactions,the kind of interaction that might happenat a coffee shop between two friends

  • 03:07

    JESSICA LESTER [continued]: sipping tea or talking about their summer plansor where they might go over the weekend.Conversational analysts are particularlyinterested in that kind of talk, how everyday,boring, mundane interactions are actually producing social life.They're also particularly interestedin institutional talk, so talk that's producedin places like a medical context or a classroom setting.

  • 03:28

    JESSICA LESTER [continued]: And fundamentally, there's an assumptionthat a lot of that talk is actuallystructured in a way that's slightly different than coffeetime talk or dinnertime talk.The conversational turns, for instance,in a classroom are quite often differentthan what might happen between two friends in a coffee shop.For instance, a classroom teachermight dominate the conversation and provide

  • 03:49

    JESSICA LESTER [continued]: only a little bit of space for a student to interject something.That type of interaction is structuredin a quite different way than a coffee time conversation.In today's group, we're going to focus our timearound collaboratively analyzing video from a data bank of StateBoard of Education meetings.What the conversations is mostly around

  • 04:10

    JESSICA LESTER [continued]: is how they're going to arrange the agenda.And what I'm particularly interested inis the ways in which the chairperson's legitimacyis questioned.This video was really focused on a point and disagreementbetween the Chair of the State Board of Education meetings,as well as the members of this board.

  • 04:29

    SPEAKER 1: The existing model saysthat any board member may put an agenda item on the agenda.

  • 04:35

    SPEAKER 2: I understand, David.

  • 04:36

    SPEAKER 1: And what you're sayingis you're not willing to follow the procedures thatare currently adopted--

  • 04:42

    JESSICA LESTER: And this disagreement,while substantively focused on a specific policy,was also unfolding in relationship to Robert's Rules.

  • 04:50

    FRANCESCA WHITE: Yeah.So Robert's Rules is really just a setof guidelines for how to run a meetingand there are particular roles.Like certain people have roles that they can take.At the very beginning of the meeting,the agenda is presented and then people have an opportunityto add things.Once the agent is approved, then it's setand those are the things that we talk about.

  • 05:12

    FRANCESCA WHITE [continued]: And it's opposed to making meetings be more efficient.In this video, it seems like they'rekind of breaking the rules as being subversive in some waysto whatever goals that she has.So it's really interesting.In general, my research interestsfocus on discourse and identity and across a lot of settings.

  • 05:34

    FRANCESCA WHITE [continued]: And right now, I'm focused on post secondary STEM,so students who major in science, technology, math,engineering.I'm interested in how identity is worked up in those settings.

  • 05:43

    SPEAKER 3: In terms of my motion,I will defer to the will of the board.I still feel strongly that work items need to be issued,however I will defer to the will of the boardin terms of how we proceed.

  • 05:55

    SURAJ UTTAMCHANDANI: There's definitely some accountabilitywork being done, like I will defer to the board,here's how I feel, let the board makethe error if they're going to.So you can already see her kind of predictingwhere this is going to go.

  • 06:09

    JESSICA LESTER: The Discourse and Conversational AnalysisResearch Group began because of student interest.Here Indiana University, a series of discourse analysisand conversational analysis coursesare part of the curriculum and thereare a multitude of students not justwithin the School of Education, but across the universitywho have an interest in the study of social interactionfrom a variety of perspectives.

  • 06:30

    JESSICA LESTER [continued]: And part of that interest is also indicating from themthat they would like some supportin thinking about how you go about analyzing dataand thinking about how you approach datafrom a variety of language-based methodologies.And so I began the group to simply providesupport for students.

  • 06:46

    ANDY: I realized that I wanted to use discourse analysisin my dissertation and I needed a group and some supportin figuring out how to tackle that.So the group has been very helpful in giving medifferent perspectives on my dataand also just kind of helping to shore upmy thoughts about discourse analysisin general and discursive psychology.

  • 07:07

    JESSICA LESTER: While faculty do occasionallyattending the group and acquire feedback on their own dataand also provide support to students,it's really a research group that is fundamentallydesigned to create opportunities for studentsto get support for the kind of work that they're engaged inand acquire some experience in analyzing data.

  • 07:30

    JESSICA LESTER [continued]: Atlas TI is a qualitative data analysis software packagethat I and other qualitative researchersto use to support the analysis process.By no means does it do the analysis for you,but it does certainly provide a useful meansby which to manage your projects,as well as to engage in the analysis process.I specifically use Atlas TI for my discourse and conversational

  • 07:51

    JESSICA LESTER [continued]: analysis work.The students that are part of the research groupalso use Atlas TI and other forms of qualitative dataanalysis software packages to supporttheir analytical approaches and the processthat they engage in.

  • 08:01

    SURAJ UTTAMCHANDANI: It's definitelyto hold someone accountable for something.Like we wouldn't do that, right?We wouldn't be like, notice that there's only a fewof us in this discourse group or whatever.So reluctantly private setting, nobody brings that up.

  • 08:13

    JESSICA LESTER: So in some ways, itemphasizes the public nature of what's about to happen.Yeah, it's public, it's being recorded, your on TV,essentially.

  • 08:22

    SURAJ UTTAMCHANDANI: It's a threat, that'swhat I'm really trying to say.

  • 08:25

    JESSICA LESTER: State Boards of Educationare typically by law required to post their data as publicand those data are typically video recorded conversationsof their actual meetings.And so this institutional data, which was naturally occurring,is the focus of a study that's being carried out by both me,as well as a policy studies scholar, Francesca White, who's

  • 08:46

    JESSICA LESTER [continued]: also a methodology student.And so what you saw today was the analysisof the video unfolding in very really micro ways.So we didn't look at a lot of the video.In fact, only a few minutes passed.And we really focused on at a micro level,how does the talk that's unfolding actuallypoint to specific social activities

  • 09:06

    JESSICA LESTER [continued]: within the context of these State Board meetings?

  • 09:10

    SPEAKER 1: Well, that's unacceptable because accordingto our meeting procedures--

  • 09:14

    SPEAKER 2: I understand you feel that way.

  • 09:16

    SPEAKER 1: No, it's not my feeling.It's the meeting procedures that say,a board member put an agenda item on.

  • 09:22

    SPEAKER 2: I understand--

  • 09:23

    SPEAKER 1: And what you're sayingis you're not willing to follow the procedures thatare currently adopted.Either we're going to follow the procedures or we're not.

  • 09:32

    SPEAKER 4: It's just so interestinghow they're using the rules to sort of questionand challenge her throughout all of the clips.

  • 09:43

    JESSICA LESTER: The space of the research groupprovides a way for the students to number one,acquire feedback from colleagues who are engagedin similar methodological work.And that's a fundamental key featureof discourse and conversational analysiswork, that you would have opportunitiesto share your work and engage in group analysis.So analytically, the group itself

  • 10:05

    JESSICA LESTER [continued]: is designed to support the fundamental approachto how you would analyze this kind of databy creating opportunities for people to contribute.In addition to that, the group is reallydesigned to create opportunities for the studentsto bring aspects of their data or aspectsof their dissertation proposals to the groupthat they're struggling with and acquire feedback

  • 10:26

    JESSICA LESTER [continued]: from a variety of substantive perspectivesfrom individuals who have some common methodologicalunderstanding.For instance, there's one studentwe recently brought a portion of her dissertation proposalthat she was struggling with and she acquired feedbackon how she could write about specificallydiscursive psychology for a dissertation committee who

  • 10:46

    JESSICA LESTER [continued]: is perhaps new to making sense of whatthis means in her own field.And so we took some time to make sense of the proposal ourselvesand offers some specific feedbackon how she would go about providing her committeewith some really concrete understandings of whatit is that she hopes to do.As another example, a student recentlybrought some video data from a tutoring center

  • 11:08

    JESSICA LESTER [continued]: in which he was studying the ways in which learningwas displayed within the context of social interaction.And he took up a conversational analysis approachto his analysis and was specifically interestedin body movements in the space and the momentsin which interactants would move between a tutoringtable to a white board and at the white board

  • 11:30

    JESSICA LESTER [continued]: begin to give some explanations of howthey could solve a problem.

  • 11:34

    SURAJ UTTAMCHANDANI: I brought in some of this data last weekand it was just really helpful to have people either seethings that you hadn't seen in the dataor see some of the things you had seen and sort of confirmfor you that the patterns that are emergingare actually in the data.

  • 11:48

    JESSICA LESTER: After the analysis group,we spent a lot of time in the analysis group talkingabout possible interpretations of the move to the whiteboard.And after this period, he actuallysent me a long blog post that he hadwritten in which he had had an a-ha moment around howperhaps the move to the whiteboard is a repair moment.

  • 12:10

    JESSICA LESTER [continued]: So in conversational analysis, repairis a fundamental structure that's often considered.And so the group itself became the spacein which he began to tease out some possible explanationsfor interactional moves that he was seeing in his data itself.So broadly, the space is really designedto create opportunities for the studentsto bring areas in their own work where they're struggling

  • 12:30

    JESSICA LESTER [continued]: or areas in their own work where they have some hunchesand they want to try them out and have us contributeto the analysis process in providingsome alternative perspectives or aligning their perspective.And it's also just a space for students to really identifyspaces where they're perhaps not understanding somethingtheoretically or methodologicallyand they can have a safe environment in which they

  • 12:52

    JESSICA LESTER [continued]: try out those ideas and get some really concrete and specificfeedback.[MUSIC PLAYING]

Video Info

Publisher: SAGE Publications Ltd

Publication Year: 2017

Video Type:In Practice

Methods: Discourse analysis, Conversation analysis

Keywords: challenging behavior; conversation; disagreement; meetings (communication); public access; rule following; rules of order; Social order; Support groups; turn-taking ... Show More

Segment Info

Segment Num.: 1

Persons Discussed:

Events Discussed:



Dr. Jessica Lester explains discourse and conversational analysis as the study of how social order plays out in talk and text. At Indiana University Bloomington, Lester leads a research group that helps students hone their analysis skills and obtain feedback on their own discourse analysis work.

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Discourse & Conversational Analysis Research Group: Indiana University Bloomington

Dr. Jessica Lester explains discourse and conversational analysis as the study of how social order plays out in talk and text. At Indiana University Bloomington, Lester leads a research group that helps students hone their analysis skills and obtain feedback on their own discourse analysis work.