Effective information exchange and care orientation in Covid-19-related contact tracing phone calls. An applied sociolinguistic and conversation analytic enquiry into optimizing interactional dynamics and pragmatic awareness.

01 November 2020 → 31 October 2021
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Humanities
    • Discourse analysis
    • Pragmatics
    • Sociolinguistics
  • Medical and health sciences
    • Health and community services
    • Health counselling
Pragmatic linguistic awareness Interactional practices
Project description

Responding to a number of urgent problems noted in the area of

Covid-19 contact tracing (reluctance to give information, lack of care

orientation, script-dominated talk), this project analyses and seeks to

optimize the interactional functioning of the contact tracing phone call

services coordinated by the Flemish Agency for Health & Care. It

combines 4 objectives: (i) diagnosis of interactional practice in 3

cycles of data collection and analysis (incl. 1 cycle on encounters in

other languages than Dutch); (ii) recommendations for practice, the

development of training materials and a recruitment package; (iii) a

pilot implementation followed by an efficacy measurement; and (iv)

societal impact on the general publics support for contact tracing.

The project inserts itself in an applied, interactional sociolinguistic

and conversation analytic research tradition on medical encounters

and institutional interviewing on sensitive topics. It addresses a

current gap in (i) fundamental knowledge about the linguistic

interactional dynamics of contact tracing calls as a specific type of

institutional encounter and (ii) applied knowledge on how to improve

task-oriented efficiency and enhance pragmatic awareness of

practitioners as a dimension of professional reflexivity in a currently,

important domain of combatting and containing the Covid-19

pandemic. The project benefits from close collaboration between

relevant linguistic, medical and ethical expertise.