Part of SAGE’s Mastering Business Research Methods Series, conceived and edited by Bill Lee, Mark N. K. Saunders and Vadake K. Narayanan and designed to support researchers by providing in-depth and practical guidance on using a chosen method of data collection or analysis. In Using Conversation Analysis, David Greatbatch and Timothy Clark introduce the key elements of conversation analysis, an increasingly prominent form of business research analysis, which involves analysing audio and visual recordings of naturally occurring talk-in-interaction such as television speeches and interview exchanges, to see how meanings are constructed. Ideal for Business and Management students reading for a Master’s degree, each book in the series may also serve as reference books for doctoral students and faculty members interested in the method. Watch the editors introduce the Mastering Business Research Methods series and tell you more about the first three books.

Strengths and Limitations of Conversation Analysis

Strengths and Limitations of Conversation Analysis


Our aim in this chapter is to ensure that you have the means to articulate a justification for using CA in your research. We begin by providing an account of the apparent limitations and challenges of using CA, paying particular attention to key criticisms that are commonly levelled at CA and how CA researchers respond to them. We then consider the strengths of CA, including the specific advantages of using this approach in the field of business and management research.


We outline four issues that are commonly identified as limitations of CA, with some suggestions as to how you might respond to them when justifying the use of CA in your own work. These concern: CA’s apparent reluctance to ...

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