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LINGUIST List 17.1709

Mon Jun 05 2006

Diss: Discourse Analysis: Markman: 'Computer-Mediated Conversation...'

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        1.    Kris Markman, Computer-Mediated Conversation: The organization of talk in chat-based virtual team meetings


Message 1: Computer-Mediated Conversation: The organization of talk in chat-based virtual team meetings
Date: 05-Jun-2006
From: Kris Markman <krismalumni.utexas.net>
Subject: Computer-Mediated Conversation: The organization of talk in chat-based virtual team meetings


Institution: University of Texas at Austin
Program: Department of Communication Studies
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2006

Author: Kris M. Markman

Dissertation Title: Computer-Mediated Conversation: The organization of talk in chat-based virtual team meetings

Linguistic Field(s): Discourse Analysis

Dissertation Director:
Jurgen K. Streeck

Dissertation Abstract:

This dissertation is a qualitative, microanalytic case study of
conversation in computer chat-based virtual team meetings. Five
undergraduate students enrolled in a summer term (5.5 weeks) independent
study course worked together as a virtual (i.e. noncollocated) team to
research and create a multimedia presentation. I employed a Conversation
Analytic approach to analyze the chat transcripts and video recordings made
from each team member's computer screen to explain how conversation is
organized in small group quasi-synchronous computer chat. I show how the
disjointed temporality of chat conversations gives rise to a system of turn
organization (threading) that is topical, rather than strictly sequential,
in nature. I describe the system of turn allocation used by team members,
and how allocation techniques in small group chat differ from those
commonly found in large chat rooms. In addition, I discuss how participants
achieve intersubjective understanding in chat through an examination of
repair phenomena. I found that, as with spoken conversation, self-repair is
the dominant type of repair found in chat. However, I also found that
repair in chat could serve social functions for the group, by serving as a
resource for participants to determine norms for spelling and other typing
conventions in their chat meetings. I also examine the chat transcripts as
examples of meeting talk, with a particular focus on how conversational
practices such as openings and closings work to structure meetings in chat.
I found that the structural characteristics of chat made opening and
closing meetings a complicated process subject to frequent interruptions,
and that a two-stage process was adapted by the team for opening and
closing their meetings. This project advances our understanding of how
quasi-synchronous computer-mediated communication is structured, and how
the use of this medium by a virtual team can affect collaboration. I show
how an analysis of the structure of chat conversations offers an
explanation for why computer chat is not widely used in organizational
settings, why people sometimes describe feeling uncomfortable with these
types of meetings. Based on my findings, I also offer a set of
recommendations for practitioners for making virtual meetings more successful.



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