The following is a sample of typical modules that we offer, not a definitive list. Due to the passage of time between commencement of the course and subsequent years of the course, modules may change, for example due to curriculum developments.
Research Methodologies for Health
Care Communication (20 credits)
This module introduces students to 4 different methodological approaches to analysis that can be used to study interpersonal and written communication in health care: i) Discourse Analysis ii) Critical Discourse Analysis iii) Conversation Analysis iv) Corpus Linguistics. Students will be introduced to the assumptions and techniques of these kinds of analysis and will be familiarised with examples of the methods in action in research on health care. Differences and similarities between the approaches will be highlighted. Issues around choice of method, choice of method to suit the research question, and the application of findings will be explored. Throughout the module students will experience what work using these different analytical approaches might involve and consider the practical and theoretical issues raised by these activities. Students will also be encouraged to develop a critical appreciation of the strengths and weaknesses of each method of analysis and the circumstances in which each is most appropriate.
Health Care Narratives (20 credits)
This module is intended to familiarise students with theories and applications of narrative in health care contexts. The module will address the following key areas: i) Narratology: Theories of narrative ii) Personal narratives of illness iii) Professional narratives iv) Organisation and policy narratives v) Narrative as therapeutic intervention The module will provide students with an opportunity to examine what narrative is and how this knowledge can be deployed to help understand a variety of phenomena encountered in health care. The module will equip students with a high level knowledge of narrative theory and how much of what takes place in health care exchanges are governed by the kinds of narratives that are used. Students will also develop and practice skills in identifying and analysing narratives of patients, professionals and policy makers. Students will also understand how knowledge of narratives can be used to enhance therapeutic interventions and practices across a range of health care disciplines. Students will appreciate how health care environments, structures and practices are informed by broader, macro-level organisational and governmental narratives.
Health Care Documentation (20 credits)
This module introduces students to the study of health care documentation. The term documentation will be defined widely so as to include:
- Written and electronic records of client care
- Case conferences, programme planning and care plans
- Policy documents at national, local and institutional levels
- Health promotion and education materials.
In relation to each of these topics, students will be encouraged to learn about how previous authors have studied these kinds of documentation and critically evaluate the theories and methods employed. Students will, consistent with ethical considerations, be encouraged to collect their own examples for analysis in learning exercises in the module and make use of the materials available in the Nottingham University Health Language Corpus. Learning activities in the module will include a combination of critical analysis of existing research and the students own analysis of health care documentation materials.
The Language of Compliance (20 credits)
This module addresses the issue of compliance in healthcare from a communications perspective. It begins by examining the terminology from a sociological perspective, considering to what extent alternative terms such as adherence and concordance represent a paradigm shift in either policy or practice. The remainder of the module is divided into two sections: macro or structural issues affecting compliance, such as age, gender, cultural background and educational level; and micro level or interactional issues, such as the differences in design and receipt between advice, information or instruction.
Discourse Analysis (20 credits)
The module looks at various approaches to the study of spoken language. These include structural models based on the work of the Birmingham discourse analysts, as well as more sociolinguistically inspired approaches to conversation analysis and recent developments in spoken corpus linguistics. Each learning unit takes a different kind of discourse and progressively builds up a classification of discourse types or genres. Real spoken data are used throughout, for exemplification and practical analysis tasks. Both quantitative (corpus-based) and qualitative approaches to analysis are covered, and the implications for language pedagogy and other branches of applied linguistics (e.g applications in other professional contexts) are considered.
Corpus Linguistics (20 credits)
Corpus linguistics provides methods for the study of collections of electronic texts (written texts, including literary texts, material from the internet, transcripts of spoken language, etc.). This module introduces fundamental corpus methods that include retrieving and interpreting word frequency information, studying patterns of words in the form of concordances, and analysing key words and key semantic domains.
The module will explain these concepts and illustrate methods through case studies, with an emphasis on the use of corpus methods for the purposes of discourse analysis. Through hands-on sessions students will actively practise using corpus analysis software and several online interfaces. Throughout the module, students are encouraged to reflect on the applicability of a range of methods to their own areas of interest (e.g. literary linguistics, critical discourse analysis, ELT, etc.). For the assessment, students will complete a small-scale corpus project on a topic of their own choosing (in consultation with the module convenor). This project can function to test ideas that might be further developed in the dissertation.
Language and Gender (20 credits)
The module will explore the relationship between language and gender in spoken interaction and written texts, drawing on key approaches in the areas of discourse analysis, sociolinguistics and pragmatics. The extent to which gender affects the language we produce when interacting with one another in a variety of contexts will be focused on, along with the issue of sexism in language use. Various theoretical paradigms that have been presented to explain language and gender differences will be critically examined, along with gender ideologies which operate in society. Students will be encouraged to combine theoretical thinking with hands-on analyses of data from authentic examples of spoken interaction and from a variety of publications including the popular media. The practical consequences of the discipline in terms of how findings can have a political impact on wider society are also discussed.
Intercultural Communication (20 credits)
This module will explore the use of language in interactions between speakers of different cultural and linguistic backgrounds from three different perspectives: Description, Development, and Assessment. With a growing proportion of interactions in the world today taking place between people of diverse cultural backgrounds, it is important to identify and describe language use which may lead to misunderstanding and communicative breakdown. This module will look at ways in which language barriers might be overcome in such interactions, and at the key factors in this process. We will examine intercultural interactions in a variety of contexts, e.g. business and other professional encounters, the language of the media, the foreign language classroom, etc.
More information on the above modules is available in the Module Catalogue.
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The modules we offer are inspired by the research interests of our staff and as a result may change for reasons of, for example, research developments or legislation changes. This list is an example of typical modules we offer, not a definitive list.