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Conversation analysis of health communication

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

Project Description

Good communication can enhance health outcomes. In order to optimise health communication in different settings it is important to understand what interactional techniques are used, and which techniques work well and less well. This project (precise details will be refined in discussion with supervisor/s) will use conversation analysis to identify communication patterns in audio and/or video data on health topics – broadly defined: for example, it may involve exploring how members of support groups discuss the way they cope with a particular condition, helpline interaction, how people with chronic health conditions interact with assistance dogs. This project would be ideally suited to someone who already has ideas about, or access to, a particular data collection site, and who has a keen interest in, and experience of using, qualitative research methods.

Candidates are expected to hold (or be about to obtain) a minimum upper second class honours degree (or equivalent) in a related area / subject. Candidates with experience in qualitative research methods are encouraged to apply. For information on how to apply for this project, please visit the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health Doctoral Academy website ( Informal enquiries may be made directly to the primary supervisor.

For international students we also offer a unique 4 year PhD programme that gives you the opportunity to undertake an accredited Teaching Certificate whilst carrying out an independent research project across a range of biological, medical and health sciences. For more information please visit

Funding Notes

Applications are invited from self-funded students. This project has a Band 1 fee. Details of our different fee bands can be found on our website (View Website). For information on how to apply for this project, please visit the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health Doctoral Academy website (View Website).

As an equal opportunities institution we welcome applicants from all sections of the community regardless of gender, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation and transgender status. All appointments are made on merit.


Speer, S. A. & McPhillips, R. (2018). Initiating discussions about weight in a non-weight specific setting: What can we learn about the interactional consequences of different communication practices from an examination of clinical consultations? British Journal of Health Psychology. DOI: 10.1111/bjhp.12322

Speer, S.A. (2017). Flirting: A designedly ambiguous action? Research on Language & Social Interaction. 50(2): 128-150. DOI: 10.1080/08351813.2017.1301297.

Speer, S. A. and Stokoe, E. (2014). Ethics in action: Consent-gaining interactions and implications for research practice. British Journal of Social Psychology, 53 (1), 54-73.[Reprinted in B. Gough (Ed.) Qualitative research in psychology. Volume five: Contemporary issues and innovations. London: Sage].

Speer, S. A. and McPhillips, R. (2013) Patients’ perspectives on psychiatric consultations in the Gender Identity Clinic: Implications for patient-centered communication. Patient Education and Counseling, 91(3), 385-391.

Speer, S. A. (2013). Talking about sex in the Gender Identity Clinic: Implications for training and practice. Health, 17(6), 622–639.

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