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    The Unspoken Voice: Applying John Shotter’s dialogic lens to qualitative data from people who have communication difficulties

    Broomfield, Katherine, Sage, Karen ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7365-5177, Jones, Georgina, Judge, Simon and James, Deborah ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7626-9418 (2023) The Unspoken Voice: Applying John Shotter’s dialogic lens to qualitative data from people who have communication difficulties. Qualitative Health Research, 33 (1-2). pp. 3-12. ISSN 1049-7323

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    Abstract

    As speech and language therapists, we explored theories of communication and voice that are familiar to our profession and found them an inadequate basis on which to generate deep and rich analysis of the qualitative data from people who have communication difficulties and who use augmentative and alternative communication. Expanding our conceptual toolkit to include the work of John Shotter allowed us to reconceptualise voice and where it is emergent in dialogue. Reimaging voice will inform clinical and research praxis with people who have communication difficulties as it allows practitioners to attend more closely to the complexity and nuance inherent in interactions with this population. Our proposition is exemplified with excerpts from a single participant who has communication difficulties to illustrate the value of dialogic theory in praxis. This article presents a provocation for the wider academy of qualitative health research; do we have the concepts and tools to develop meaning with people whose lived experiences may also be hard to voice in monologues?

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