Research course

Communication in Social and Healthcare Contexts

Institution
Open University · Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies
Qualifications
MPhilPhD

Entry requirements

Minimum 2:1 (or equivalent)

Months of entry

October

Course content

A key area of research is communication in social and healthcare contexts. This work is grounded in multimethod approaches from applied linguistics, narrative studies and literacy studies. These studies aim to understand the nature of communicative practices across a range of social and healthcare settings taking account of the ways in which changing practices mediated by the use of new technologies is impacting on health and social care provision. Another key interest is to explore how different participants in health and social care provision use language – for example, how groups talk about their illness experiences and health/social care needs, and to understand what this tells us about illnesses (where relevant) and underlying attitudes, values, priorities and issues. Developing work investigates the discourses of death and mourning and how mental health and illness experiences are described in various types of narratives, and what effect this might have on public perceptions and understandings.

Potential research projects

  • The language of doctor–patient communication
  • The language of health information leaflets
  • Communicating about health and illness online
  • Autobiographical, or ‘lived experience’ narratives of mental and physical health and illness
  • Linguistic representation of self and identity in illness
  • The literacy practices of health and social care practitioners
  • The discourses and practices of dying and mourning

Current/recent research projects

  • The language of experiences of depression and schizophrenia in various types of narratives
  • The use of metaphor in cancer and end-of-life care contexts by different groups of people
  • Practices of mourning online and off
  • The representation of illnesses in fiction and the contribution this makes to public perception of illness
  • Writing and recording practices in professional social work
  • Conversational humour in online support forums

Potential supervisors

Department specialisms

- The language of doctor–patient communication - The language of health information leaflets - Communicating about health and illness online - Autobiographical, or ‘lived experience’ narratives of mental and physical health and illness - Linguistic representation of self and identity in illness - The literacy practices of health and social care practitioners - The discourses and practices of dying and mourning

Fees and funding

Please see The Open University website http://www.open.ac.uk/postgraduate/research-degrees/fees-and-funding.

Qualification and course duration

MPhil

part time
24 months
full time
15 months

PhD

part time
72 months
full time
48 months

Course contact details

Name
Mrs Anne Foward
Email
creet-student-enquiries@open.ac.uk
Phone
+44 (0)1908 655364