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Wendy Archer

Research Fellow,



As an Applied Sociolinguist whose teaching and research interests lie in the area of language in context and talk-in-interaction, I joined the Sue Ryder Care Centre in January 2016 to work on a 3-year project exploring communication between allied health professionals (OTs and PTs) and patients in palliative and end of life care.

A qualified teacher and enthusiastic researcher with over 15 years' teaching and lecturing experience in Higher Education, I have taught both in the UK (Liverpool John Moores University; University of Essex) and overseas (Italy; Germany; Oman) and have supervised both Undergraduate and Postgraduate dissertation students on a variety of linguistics and applied linguistics topics, both theoretically-oriented and practice-based. I have also worked as a teacher trainer, am a keen materials developer and an experienced academic writer, most recently contributing to and teaching on an advanced support class for native and non-native PhD Thesis writers.

Membership of Professional Associations:

  • British Association for Applied Linguistics
  • International Society for the Linguistics of English

Research Summary

I am currently employed as a research fellow within the Sue Ryder Care Centre for Supportive, Palliative and End of Life Care. My role here is centered around providing research support for the… read more

Current Research

I am currently employed as a research fellow within the Sue Ryder Care Centre for Supportive, Palliative and End of Life Care. My role here is centered around providing research support for the development of the Verdis-AHP project which is led by Dr Ruth Parry (PI).

Verdis-AHP is a video-based conversation analytic research study exploring the communication practices between end of life specialist physiotherapists and occupational therapists and their patients. Funded by the NIHR, the project aims to identify communication skills used by end of life care specialist physiotherapists and occupational therapists, to design, develop and evaluate evidence-based communication skills training resources for non-specialist NHS staff and communication skills trainers, and to systematically review existing communication skills training interventions and evaluate the impact of these on staff-patient communication.

Past Research

* A Corpus-Based Exploration of the Solicitation and Delivery of Advice in an Online Forum using Stiles' Verbal Response Mode (VRM) Theory

Using a quantitative corpus-based approach, my MA investigated the ways in which advice was requested and delivered in a small specialised corpus of posts to an online international parental-child abduction support forum. Involving manual annotation of a +60,000-word corpus of electronic forum posts, utterances were coded for form and function using Stiles' (1992) Verbal Response Mode framework to allow for retrieval and isolation of sequences in which advice was requested and delivered.

Consistent with previous research on forum advice requests, quantitative analysis indicated high levels of directness in initiating posts where advice was sought as well as forms of indirectness which emphasized positive regard for others. In contrast, where previous research has shown the existence of a non-directive style of advising in online support groups, my research showed high levels of directness among advice givers who frequently formulated advice in the form of strongly-worded intensified negative imperatives.

* A Sociolinguistic Analysis of Communication Patterns between Midwives and Mothers in Antenatal Clinics in Great Britain and Germany

Applying the tools and techniques of conversation analytic research combined with insights from interactional sociolinguistics, my PhD explored the verbal and non-verbal features of interaction in routine antenatal consultations collected from participating healthcare institutions in the UK (NHS hospital- and community-based antenatal clinics) and in Germany (Hebammen- u. Geburtshäuser). With a focus on the distribution and sequencing of verbal and non-verbal features including references to the baby, 1st person plural pronouns (i.e. we), interruption & overlap, requests for information/confirmation, instances of non-response and head movements, relevant instances were transcribed using CA notation to facilitate systematic comparison of the functions of these features across broad socio-cultural categories such as role, age professional experience and stage of pregnancy.

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