Framing in interactive academic talk: A conversation-analytic perspective

Yun Pan


Framing involves how language users conceptualize what is happening in interaction for situated interpretation of roles, purposes, expectations, and sequences of action, thus show significant conceptual relevance to the analysis of routinized institutional communication. Having established a working definition of framing based on an intensive review of previous research, this study investigates university students’ and tutors’ framing behaviors in interactive small group talk. Two types of framing-in-interaction, -alternate framing of a single situation and co-framing within/beyond speaker role boundary-, are identified, examined, and characterized from a conversation-analytic perspective. The findings suggest that alternate framings co-occur with traceable interactional devices for sequential organization when the single situation at talk takes on divergent meaning potentials to be accessed. Co-framings happen when at least one (group) of participants is highly goal-oriented, showing conditional relevance to the prior courses of action and more explicit negotiation of epistemic stances. Framing, therefore, can be arguably taken as a global organization resource to characterize contextualization in institutional communication.

Publication history
Table of contents

Socio-interactional research in recent decades has been passionately devoted to mechanisms of verbal communication in institutional exchanges. Researchers in Conversation Analysis (CA) have found that the infrastructure which is universally applicable to informal, ordinary conversations do not always hold in specific institutional contexts (Kendrick et al. 2020). When the institutional framework is invoked by professionals (Nielsen et al. 2012), a global dimension for discursive organization applies beyond the immediate turns and sequences. With meaning constructed (Heritage 2005) based upon mutual expectations, procedural limits, and situated expertise (Dall and Sarangi 2018), the evidence of interactive framing shows (O’Malley 2009).

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