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General Introduction to Miscommunication

General Introduction to Miscommunication - An Introduction...

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An Introduction to Miscommunication taken from the dissertation “Miscommunication in Male/Female Conversations” by Janet L. Jacobsen, defended at Arizona State University, November 2005. This condensed version of my dissertation focuses on the front stuff (introduction and explana- tion), and the end stuff (conclusions). So the last third may seem a bit disjointed and have some terms that haven’t been defined. Ask me about those in class. You’ll note that the abstract is longer than for a journal article. There are specific guidelines for a dissertation abstract – much more focus on the method and the key findings. The formatting may be off a bit in places. The dissertation gets bound as a book, so the left mar- gin has to be large to allow for the binding. I changed the format here to one-inch margins. If you want to read the whole thing, you can see it at the ASU Library. The reference list and Ta- ble of Contents are included at the end as resources. The Table of Contents is for the whole dissertation; the items in bold are what is included for you in this introduction to miscommunication. The reference list suggests sources for your future reading pleasure.
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Intro. to Miscommunication 2 ABSTRACT This qualitative study investigates miscommunication as contained in transcripts of one week of the at-home conversations of eight “satisfied” married couples. The study analyzes the frequency of miscommunication, how speech acts relate to miscommunication, and identifies verbal cues associated with miscommunication. In past studies “miscommunication” and “misunderstanding” represent both specific cases and broader categories. This study identifies miscommunication as the umbrella term and supports the view that understanding, misunderstanding and nonunderstanding represent a continuum, rather than a binary process. A typology of 5 types of miscommunication is developed: process- centered, sender-centered, receiver-centered, cognition-centered, and the “nons” (noncommunication). All interactions are assessed to identify conflict and miscommunication. A grounded theory approach is then applied using the typology to help determine actual miscommunication, which account for 4.2% of the couples’ total turns (range: 2.2% to 7.8%). Analysis also identified 123 sentences and phrases that serve as cues of potential miscommunication. These items were reduced to 8 categories: Meant (36 cues), Said (36), Known (14), Mixed (12), Nonunderstanding (9), Understood (9), Heard (7), and Yes but (6). Sex differences in the use of cues are statistically significant across the total categories but not within the individual categories. The role of speech acts in miscommunication is studied using the Birmingham School Discourse Analysis (BSA) method of conversational analysis. Differences across couples are demonstrated in the proportion of conversation that involved miscommunication, the use of certain speech acts such as “loops,” differences in the frequency and nature of nonunderstandings, and types of miscommunication cues. Some sex differences occur within couples but are not consistent across couples.
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