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Prof John Heritage (UCLA) will give a talk from 2:00-3:30 in the top floor Seminar Room in the Humanities Building. His talk will be about 45mins, which will leave plenty of time for discussion about the contents as well as how the study of interaction can be relevant of medical research.

Following the talk, we will take a 15min break, and then do a bit of an exercise in the practice of analysing conversations until about 5:00 after which there will be more time for discussion in the pub.


Several years ago, we published a paper on interventions based on CA methods (Robinson and Heritage 2014). While the paper sketched some of the desiderata for such interventions, it lacked a concrete example of what such an intervention would look like in practice. The present paper reports on such an intervention focused on training clinicians with the aim of reducing antibiotic prescribing in pediatric primary care. The intervention involved 56 providers and data from 78,628 office visits by 29,333 patients. We focus on the CA evidence on which the intervention was based, the process of its creation and implementation, and its outcomes on physician behavior.

Robinson, J.D., & Heritage, J. (2014). Intervening With Conversation Analysis: The Case of Medicine. Research on Language & Social Interaction, 47, 201-218.


John Heritage is distinguished professor in sociology at the University of California Los Angeles. His research focuses on what Erving Goffman calls The Interaction Order, which involves studying at social interaction: how it is constructed and what social, cultural, and psychological factors impact its implementation.

Over the past twenty years he has developed an extensive body of work in medical interaction, using conversation analysis to study such topics as decision-making, antibiotic prescribing, and medical authority. He has published on these topics in journals like Patient Education and Counselling, the Journal of General Internal Medicine, and Social Science and Medicine. He has also co-authored a book on Communication in Medical Care, showing how interaction research is crucial for understanding and improving health services. His current projects include research on interventions to improve cancer screening rates, genetic counselling, and multiple drug prescribing.