Conversation Analysis and the XML method

Rühlemann, Christoph and Gee, Matt (2017) Conversation Analysis and the XML method. Gesprächsforschung. ISSN 1617-1837

px-ruehlemann.pdf - Published Version

Download (266kB)


In this paper we introduce the XML method, a trio of technologies that can benefit conversation-analytic research. Specifically, we make a case for converting the center piece of CA research, the Jeffersonian transcript, into the format of the eXtensible Mark-up Language (XML). XML essentially turns documents into hierarchically ordered networks of nodes. As a network, an XML document can be exhaustively searched and any node or node set it contains can be extracted. We argue that the main benefit of formatting CA transcriptions in XML lies in the quantifiability that the format facilitates: CA-as-XML can provide precise "numbers and statistics" (Robinson 2007:65) thus helping to efficiently quantify observations and statistically substantiate claims about the 'generalizability' of observed practices of social action. We also introduce XPath and XQuery, two related query languages designed to exploit the XML format. Further, we describe XTranscript, a free online tool developed to convert completed CA transcripts to XML. Central to our approach is that the methodology be accessible to linguistics of varying levels of technical experience. Therefore, we also describe how this, and common concerns relating to the treatment of spoken data, have shaped our work in this area thus far.

Item Type: Article
31 December 2017Accepted
31 December 2017Published Online
Uncontrolled Keywords: XML, Quantification, XTranscript, XPath/XQuery
Subjects: CAH19 - language and area studies > CAH19-01 - English studies > CAH19-01-01 - English studies (non-specific)
Divisions: Faculty of Arts, Design and Media > College of English and Media
Depositing User: Gemma Tonks
Date Deposited: 29 Nov 2023 10:51
Last Modified: 11 Jun 2024 12:08

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


In this section...