Data analysis sessions are a common feature of discourse analytic communities, often involving participants with varying levels of expertise to those with significant expertise. Learning how to do data analysis and working with transcripts, however, are often new experiences for doctoral candidates within the social sciences. While many guides to doctoral education focus on procedures associated with data analysis (Heath, Hindmarsh, & Luff, 2010; McHoul & Rapley, 2001; Silverman, 2011; Wetherall, Taylor, & Yates, 2001), the in situ practices of doing data analysis are relatively undocumented.
This chapter has been collaboratively written by members of a special interest research group, the Transcript Analysis Group (TAG), who meet regularly to examine transcripts representing audio- and video-recorded interactional data. Here, we investigate our own actual interactional practices and participation in this group where each member is both analyst and participant. We particularly focus on the pedagogic practices enacted in the group through investigating how members engage in the scholarly practice of data analysis. A key feature of talk within the data sessions is that members work collaboratively to identify and discuss ‘noticings’ from the audio-recorded and transcribed talk being examined, produce candidate analytic observations based on these discussions, and evaluate these observations. Our investigation of how talk constructs social practices in these sessions shows that participants move fluidly between actions that demonstrate pedagogic practices and expertise. Within any one session, members can display their expertise as analysts and, at the same time, display that they have gained an understanding that they did not have before.
We take an ethnomethodological position that asks, ‘what’s going on here?’ in the data analysis session. By observing the in situ practices in fine-grained detail, we show how members participate in the data analysis sessions and make sense of a transcript.