University of Oulu

Tuncer, Sylvaine (2016). The Effects of Video Recording on Office Workers’ Conduct, and the Validity of Video Data for the Study of Naturally-Occurring Interactions [51 paragraphs]. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 17(3), Art. 7,

The effects of video recording on office workers' conduct, and the validity of video data for the study of naturally-occurring interactions

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Author: Tuncer, Sylvaine1
Organizations: 1English Philology, Faculty of Humanity, PO Box 8000 FI-90014, University of Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.2 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Free University of Berlin, 2016
Publish Date: 2017-05-19


This article starts from the observation that social scientists using video to study naturally-occurring interactions are often questioned about the reliability of their data, by wider audiences, but also by scholars who raised concerns early on about how the recording device would modify the participants’ conduct. The study uses 47 video extracts in which workers filmed in their offices orient to the recording, analyzed from a conversation analysis perspective. I show that these sequences occur in two distinct sequential environments, corresponding to distinct sets of accomplishments. During the openings of encounters participants often discuss the meaning and features of the recording, and close the topic as they reach a form of agreement. I outline a pattern for such sequences. During the course of an encounter, they often use the recording not only as a resource to produce laughter in general, but also to achieve locally and sequentially relevant actions, such as closing a complaint or assessing an activity. By exposing the methods whereby participants “domesticate” the recording, I argue that while the recording is a specific circumstance that participants are aware of, and which requires some negotiations, which in turn may change their interactions, it nonetheless provides rich analytic material. The implications of the study are ethical, since they display participants’ expectations regarding informed consent, and how they continuously achieve it in their interactions as an iterative process; they are also analytical, since I unpack a diversity of ways participants use the camera as a particular interactional resource to achieve commonplace interactional projects at work.

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Series: Forum. Qualitative social research
ISSN: 1438-5627
ISSN-E: 1438-5627
ISSN-L: 1438-5627
Volume: 17
Issue: 3
Article number: 7
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 5141 Sociology
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Copyright information: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research (ISSN 1438-5627)