Mixed Methods & Common Ground (Workshop)

Dozent(en)Dr. Giovanni Rossi, Dr. Daria Bahtina-Jantsikene
AnsprechpartnerChristina Meuser
Anmeldung per Email ist erforderlich.
Termin31. Januar 2018, 15:15-18:45
Ortvoraussichtlich: FRIAS, Albertstraße 19, 02 005f

A practical introduction to mixed methods for research on language and social interaction

Giovanni Rossi

University of Helsinki



In this workshop, I will give an introduction to the basic concepts, principles, and procedures of mixed methods for research on language and social interaction. This mixed methodology has a qualitative and a quantitative part. The qualitative part comes first and consists in a detailed analysis of the target phenomenon in its formal, sequential, and normative properties, using approaches and tools from conversation analysis, linguistics, and gesture studies. This analysis then informs the development of a coding scheme: a standardized battery of questions to be asked of a large sample of cases of the target phenomenon. This second, quantitative part of the analysis allows us to better visualize the distribution and co-occurrence of linguistic and interactional features, to see things that cannot readily be seen in qualitative description, and it enables inferential statistics to test the robustness, generalizability, and predictive power of the patterns observed. I will illustrate this methodology with examples from cross-linguistic research on conversational repair, requests, and other-repetitions. The workshop also includes a hands-on session where I introduce participants to a workflow for the extraction and processing of coding data from Excel spreadsheets using R and R Studio. Those who wish to take part in this session should bring their laptop and make sure they have the following software installed and running: Microsoft Excel, R (http://www.cran.r-project.org), and R Studio (https://www.rstudio.com). In addition, all participants are encouraged to read the following article in preparation for the workshop:


Stivers, T. (2015). Coding Social Interaction: A Heretical Approach in Conversation Analysis? Research on Language and Social Interaction, 48(1), 1–19. https://doi.org/10.1080/08351813.2015.993837




Common ground in interaction:

Perspectives, methods, deliverables


Daria Bahtina-Jantsikene

University of Helsinki



When we communicate, we construct and interpret meanings using our linguistic, cultural, and discourse-specific knowledge backgrounds. Mutual understanding depends on how well our meanings are in tune with those of others, both in informational and affiliational terms. This is what I refer to as common ground. Consciously or unconsciously, we take these aspects into account as we interact, even when our purpose is to manipulate what we share (e.g. exclude someone from a group or conceal sensitive information). The study of the management of common ground and related notions — like shared knowledge, interactive alignment or perspective matching — can be found in every discipline concerned with human interaction: from communication to sociology, from cultural studies to psycholinguistics.


In this workshop, we will first survey a number of areas of research and case studies on the construction and management of common ground, including, for example, on the selection between long-established and newly-created shared knowledge for the achievement of a particular communicative goal, on the different functions of synchronized and coordinated multimodal behaviors, and on the relation between linguistic accommodation and power asymmetries between interlocutors, among others. We will briefly discuss the general advantages and disadvantages of different approaches, and the potential for application of different findings depending on their focus and scope. In the second part of the workshop, we will explore how different approaches and findings can be useful to the current research questions and projects of workshop participants, who will be encouraged to talk about their ongoing research, possibly by reference to a short piece of data.


To secure a sufficient degree of theoretical common ground, participants are invited to think of

relevant accounts from their own areas and/or read the following article (available online):

Enfield, N. J. (2008). Common Ground as a Resource for Social Affiliation. In I. Kecskes & J. L. Mey

(Eds.), Intention, Common Ground and the Egocentric Speaker-Hearer (pp. 223–254). Berlin:

Mouton de Gruyter.














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