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Talk at Work

This course is closed for further applications.

This course in applied conversation analysis introduces students to the rules of talk-in-interaction and explores how these rules are used in professional settings. In the first part of the course students will learn that talk is a collaborative achievement, and that speakers use turn taking and the sequential organisation of talk to make sense of one another, fix misunderstandings, and to challenge or align with other speakers. The second part of the course explores these interactional rules in a range of workplaces: education (e.g. how teachers design question and answer sequences in classrooms), psychology (e.g. how therapists manage to facilitate a perspective shift while supporting the emotional needs of clients); medicine (e.g. how doctors elicit the reason for the visit at the beginning of consultations), law (e.g. how ‘facts’ are talked into being in courtrooms); and journalism (e.g. how journalists pursue answers in television interviews). On completion of this subject students will understand the practices of how we talk at work, and be able to analyse evidence to explain how speakers navigate professional communication.  

Exam info and full course description

Exam info and full course description can be found in the course catalogue.

Admission Requirements

Course specific:

To apply for the course you must either be enrolled in a bachelor's degree, have a bachelor's degree or have passed a qualifying entry examination.


Exchange students: nomination from your home university

Freemovers: documentation for English Language proficiency

You can read more about admission here.


Amelia Church


Academic profile

Amelia Church is a lecturer and researcher in the Melbourne Graduate School of Education. Conversation analyst, ethnomethodologist, editor and professional overhearer of how people do things with language. Current research involves children's talk, classroom interactions, professional communication and training, and how misunderstanding is resolved in talk-in-interaction.