Health communication extends from patient-doctor interactions and inter-professional encounters to media campaigns and patient-patient interactions on social media. While research has shown that effective communication is an indispensable part of delivering quality healthcare, technological advances in modes of communication, together with increasingly complex social environments, are presenting professionals and patients alike with multiple challenges.
This course pursues two main interrelated objectives. First, students will learn about different analytical approaches to healthcare communication, namely micro- and macro-perspectives on the analyses of spoken and written discourse data. Second, it is intended as a course with a ‘practical’ aim of developing the students’ understanding that effective health communication strategies may significantly improve healthcare quality and outcomes.
To achieve these two objectives, the students will engage with authentic data from various healthcare sites to examine some critical issues of health communication such as patient-centredness and shared decision-making between healthcare professionals and patients; delivery of accurate and accessible healthcare information; communicating health risk and uncertainty. Students will also undertake group work using health communication data that they select for themselves.
- Approaches to healthcare communication research
- Discourse analysis and healthcare communication
- What counts as data in health communication research?
- Working with spoken data (conversational analysis)
- Narratives of illness experience
- Stigma and social dimensions of illness experience
- Health communication in the public sphere
- Collaborating with healthcare institutions
- Central themes of discourse analytic research in healthcare
- Ethical dimensions and reflexivity of research
- Culture and healthcare communication
Students will be given around 2-3 core texts to read before each session; these will be uploaded on Moodle before the start of semester. Tutorial structure will be finalized in the first two weeks of the course.
- To introduce the main analytic approaches to the analysis of authentic health communication data from a range of healthcare sites;
- To develop a critical awareness of key issues in modern healthcare communication;
- To develop an appreciation of the impact of globalization on the professional workforce and diversity of the patient population on healthcare delivery;
- To enable the students to engage in the analysis of healthcare discourses using the theoretical foundations acquired in the course.
- Lectures (2 hours a week) will introduce fundamental concepts and frameworks, including methods for engaging in data analysis.
- Tutorials (1 hour every week) will provide opportunities for students to engage in hands-on exercises.
Assessment is 100% coursework, which comprises four components as listed below. A failure to complete a component on the specified due date will result in a 0 for that particular proportion of the grade. Further specification about the content, analysis and formatting as well as grading of your coursework will be distributed at the beginning of the semester.
- Case study (1,000 words, 30%)
- Participation (10%)
- 500-word outline plan for final essay (10%)
- Final essay (2,500 words, 50%).
The final essay will include data analysis and will involve close engagement with authentic data, identifying and defining themes, locating relevant literature and communicating the results in a comprehensive and logical manner.
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Sarangi, S. (2005). The conditions and consequences of professional discourse studies. Journal of Applied Linguistics 2 (3): 371-394.
Sarangi, S. (2010). Practicing discourse analysis in healthcare settings. In I. Bourgeault, R. DeVries and R. Dingwall (eds.) The SAGE Handbook of Qualitative Methods in Health Research, 397-416. London: Sage.
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