Advice and identity in institutional talk: A conversation analytic study of academic advising at the undergraduate level

Alda M Norris, Purdue University


Despite the importance of advising experiences, very little is known about the interpersonal communication dynamics of these interactions. This study addresses that knowledge gap by providing an analysis of audio recordings of advising sessions as they occurred in the offices of five academic advisors who met with undergraduate advisees (n= 28). Conversation Analysis is utilized to reveal how advisors and advisees orient to their roles during conversation and how advice-giving unfolds in direct and indirect ways. As advising sessions are situated within the larger institutional framework of the university, in-depth interviews with the advisors were also conducted. Results indicate academic advisors offer both solicited and unsolicited advice to students in ways that reference an identity as institutional agents, balancing that identity with a personalized approach to advice-giving. The advice-giving sequences tend to promote an agenda of student responsibility, though important exceptions are addressed. A unique contribution is the finding about the role of technology in advising encounters. The presence of computers is utilized as a conversational resource by both advisors and advisees in opening spaces for advice sequences. The full ecology of the advising encounter must be accounted for in describing and formulating recommendations for improvements.^




Felicia Roberts, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Speech Communication|Education, Guidance and Counseling

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