Discursive psychology as a qualitative approach for analysing interaction in medical settings

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PURPOSE: To introduce some features of the perspective of discursive psychology that may be useful for studying interaction in a range of medical settings. OVERVIEW: Discursive psychology considers the way psychological words and displays play a practical part in the activities that are performed in particular settings. It offers a way of understanding the role of psychological issues that is distinct from, and is sometimes obscured by, traditional social cognitive approaches. The approach is illustrated by the example of crying on a child protection helpline. The way crying is built from different elements, the way these elements are organised, and the way they are receipted are all highlighted. Crying is both performing and potentially disrupting actions. The virtues of high quality transcription, and of understanding the way crying is situated in the turn organisations of conversation, are demonstrated. EVALUATION: Discursive psychology involves particular ways of considering reliability and validity. The broader potential for such an approach in medical settings is discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)338-344
Number of pages7
JournalMedical education
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2005
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education


  • Counselling
  • Education, medical, undergraduate/*methods
  • Physician patient relations
  • Psychology/ *education

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