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Conversation Analysis

4. CA and the Medical Encounter

Example 4

In a study of informing interviews with parents of children who have been tested for mental disabilities, Maynard (2003) describes the use of a 'perspective display' sequence in which clinicians begin by asking the parents for their view of their child's condition, as in the following example (Maynard, 1992). At line 1, the clinician asks the child's mother for her view of the child's condition, eliciting a response that acknowledges the existence of language difficulties (lines 3-7).

Dialogue Example as discussed in the text

The significance of this prefatory solicitation is that it enables clinicians to anticipate the stance that the parent has to the child's condition. Stances that may emerge in the form of resistance or denial can be anticipated and addressed. Moreover the perspective display sequence also allows physicians where possible, to build their clinical judgments as in agreement with the parent's conclusions (see lines 13-16 above). An important outcome of this process is that the parent may be better prepared for adverse conclusions (Maynard, 1996, 2003).

Maynard D. (2003). Bad news, good news: Conversational order in everyday talk and clinical settings. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Maynard D. (1992). On clinicians co-implicating recipients' perspective in the delivery of diagnostic news. In: Drew P., Heritage J., Ed,  Talk at work: Social interaction in institutional settings. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 331-358.
Maynard D. (1996). On 'realization' in everyday life. American Sociological Review 60(1): 109-132.
Maynard D. (2003). Bad news, good news: Conversational order in everyday talk and clinical settings. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.