Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingForeword/postscript


This very thoughtful volume, assembled by two of the field’s leading conversation analysts, is a notable contribution to the literature on medical communication by taking the reader through the examination room door to the heart of the medical dialogue. The book is expressly conversation-analytic in orientation and presents authentic dialogue from patients and physicians as it unfolds, thus capturing the social and medical dynamic within which medicine is practiced. The book also presents chapters in which quantitative analyses are built upon conversational analytic material. By doing this, the significance of the book goes beyond the contribution of its individual chapters. It provides support for the development of a new kind of interaction study-one with the potential for rich and meaningful synthesis of the medical dialogue derived from an integration of qualitative and quantitative methods. The integration of quantitative and qualitative approaches in a study of medical dialogue is not without controversy. Indeed, a debate of longstanding intensity has centered on the perception that these approaches reflect incompatible scientific paradigms. Advocates of each have not only argued their own relative merits, but have maintained unusually critical and polarized positions. These positions are reflected in a well-worn list of attributes that are widely used to characterize quantitative and qualitative approaches, as well as their practitioners. The quantitative perspective is characterized as hypothetico-deductive, particularistic, objective, and outcome oriented; its researchers are logical positivists.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCommunication in Medical Care
Subtitle of host publicationInteraction Between Primary Care Physicians and Patients
PublisherCambridge University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780511607172
ISBN (Print)9780521621236
StatePublished - Jan 1 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)

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