• Offered by School of Literature, Languages and Linguistics
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Course subject Linguistics
  • Areas of interest Health Medicine and the Body, Linguistics and Applied Linguistics, Communications, Health

A growing body of evidence has demonstrated that ineffective communication at all levels of the healthcare system leads to poor patient outcomes, including serious illness and death, clinician dissatisfaction, and inefficiencies in the health system. Despite local and international recognition of the critical role communication plays in healthcare, and many excellent international policy initiatives to improve healthcare communication, there is little evidence that communication practices are becoming safer. In this course we introduce students to this relatively new field of healthcare communication research, accumulatively building up their qualitative and mixed methods research skills to undertake their own research project in this area. The lectures will detail both national and international evidence based research. The course will develop skills to firstly critically analyse features of effective and ineffective communication practices and then to translate these insights to the development of communication frameworks, models and training to improve clinical practice. Students will develop skills for analysing naturally-occurring healthcare interactions, and they will have the opportunity to develop their own research project using a method encountered in the course.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

Upon successful completion of this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
  1. demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of both qualitative and mixed methods relevant to the investigation of issues and questions in healthcare communication research;
  2. describe and critically analyse naturally-occurring healthcare communication interactions using discourse analytic techniques;
  3. demonstrate a sophisticated understanding of the processes of translating evidence based research into communication frameworks, protocols and training to improve practice; and
  4. carry out an independent research project using methods covered in the course.

Indicative Assessment

Participation (10%).  LO 1, 3
Discourse analysis of authentic healthcare interaction, 1500 words (35%). LO  2
Research project presentation, 10 minutes (5%). LO 1, 3
Research project report, 4000 words (50%). LO  1, 2, 3, 4

In response to COVID-19: Please note that Semester 2 Class Summary information (available under the classes tab) is as up to date as possible. Changes to Class Summaries not captured by this publication will be available to enrolled students via Wattle. 

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130 hours of total student learning time made up from:
a) 35 hours of contact over 12 weeks: 2-hour lecture x 12 weeks; 1-hour tutorial x 11 weeks, and
b) 95 hours of independent student research, reading and writing

Requisite and Incompatibility

You are not able to enrol in this course if you have previously completed LING2034


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2020 $3570
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2020 $5460
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

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The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

Second Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
6780 26 Jul 2021 02 Aug 2021 14 Sep 2021 29 Oct 2021 In Person View

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