i have adventures (sometimes)

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Problems in the LADO Interview: Abstract

I got my dissertation results yesterday morning. Having had more than one sleepless 5am and having spent far too much time staring at my inbox waiting for results, they finally arrived. My heart nearly stopped waiting for the page to load.

And again waiting for the next page to load. (Why were there so many pages?)

But the many hours of work and all the library madness apparently paid off, because I got a first! I did a little dance in my hostel. And over breakfast. And yelled about it in all caps on various social networks. The beast is well and truly vanquished. Take that, MSc.

This thing turned out to be pretty OK after all!
Following my dear friend Bri, I thought I'd post my abstract for those who might be interested. If you're reading this because you like reading about my adventures, I promise you don't have to read any further. If you're writing on a similar topic, or are vaguely curious about what ate my whole summer, here it is.

“But what is the reason why you know such things?”:
Problems arising in the LADO interview

Submitted in partial fulfilment of the degree of MSc at the Department of Language and Linguistic Science, University of York.

September 2012

Alison Channon

This study uses the tools of Conversation Analysis (CA) to investigate problems which occur in several Language Analysis for the Determination of Origin (LADO) interviews. LADO is used as part of the asylum process, with the goal of assessing linguistic and cultural knowledge relating to claimed region of origin. The data set comprised audio recordings of five LADO interviews with female asylum seekers.  Question and response pairs were analysed for patterns across the data set. Several problems were identified, including those associated with directives, echo questions, and challenges. The study also looked at how repair is initiated and carried out in the interviews. It was found that problems tended to arise with respect to directives and echo questions. Directives were frequently issued as part of multiple questions, alongside additional questions or modifiers, and interviewees typically provided an answer to the most specific and/or most recent question rather than fulfilling the directive itself. Directives were often used to elicit language samples, and it was found that including a clear topic for talk was the most effective way of accomplishing this goal. Echo questions were predominantly used for requesting confirmation, and were occasionally interpreted as performing this function even where there was evidence that interviewers were using this form to prompt for more information or initiate repair. Challenges were employed on several occasions, and it is argued that they contribute to a hostile atmosphere in interviews. Similarly, repair prefaced by initial “but” was found to be potentially hostile in some instances. Various modes of accomplishing repair were also investigated, and their effectiveness was variable. The study is a contribution to the literature on LADO and provides practical recommendations for improving interview practice in this field.


For any questions, contact me on alisoncrchannon AT gmail DOT com.


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