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Towards a conversational culture? How participants establish strategies for co-ordinating chat postings in the context of in-service training

Journal article
Authors Mona Nilsen
Åsa Mäkitalo
Published in Discourse Studies
Volume 12
Issue 1
Pages 90-105
Publication year 2010
Published at The Linnaeus Centre for Research on Learning, Interaction, and Mediated Communication in Contemporary Society (LinCS)
Department of Education, Communication and Learning
Department of Education, Learning and Teaching Unit
Pages 90-105
Language en
Keywords computer-mediated communication, continuity, co-ordinating strategies, discontinuity, food industry, instructional setting
Subject categories Pedagogy, Media and Communications, Communication Studies


Within the research field of computer-mediated communication (CMC), extensive attention has been paid to the differences between CMC and spoken conversation, particularly in terms of sequential structure. In this study, the aim is to analyse how participants maintain continuity and handle discontinuities in institutionally arranged, computer-mediated communication. The empirical material consists of chat log files from in-service training courses for professionals in the food production industry. In the chat sessions we analysed, participants initially had some problems in coordinating their postings, that is, keeping track of the discussion’s threading. We also found, however, that methods for co-ordinating postings rather quickly were established among the participants. Two methods for making recognizable how postings were to be read were common in the material: 1) the use of personal names to address a specific participant, and 2) recycling part of the content of a previous posting or reformulating the content in the posting addressed in recognizable ways. We also found an emerging norm in their interaction: that of waiting for one’s turn.

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