Conversation analysis is a method of qualitative analysis which is concerned with more informal and speech based talk and social interaction. It is a method which is used for including both verbal an non-verbal communication in everyday situations in a range of locations. It is a form of analysis which his popular in a range of discipline including sociology, anthropology, linguistics and psychology.
Originally influenced by the work of Harold Garkinkel, Erving Goffman and Harvey Sacks throughout the 1960s and 1970s Conversation Analysis it stems from ethnomethodology. Though similar to Discourse Analysis it is distinct in several ways. First, Conversation Analysis is concerned with the processes within social interaction (and not the wider socio contexts like DA). Second, following on from the work of Harold Garkinkel and Erving Goffman, Conversation Analysis attempts to uncover the methods used by those in the conversation to understand the interactions of themselves and others. As the analysis is so concerned with interaction, the turn-taking within the conversation is a major part of the analysis.
Having developed a detailed transcription of the conversation researchers complete indicative data-analysis and aim to develop a model to explain the patterned interactions of the participants.
Conversation Analysis has also been used by Feminist scholars. The work of Celia Kitzinger is an excellent example of the uses of this method now within fields such as Gender and Sexuality studies and everyday politics. Kitzinger argues that it is precisely because Conversation Analysis is focused on small features of talk and rather than socio-political contexts that mean it can make a useful contribution to gender and sexuality areas.