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ARCH: Applied Research on Communication in Health Group

Te Rōpū Rangahau Kōrero mō te Hauora


The  Applied Research on Communication in Health Group (ARCH) studies all aspects of communication in health care, with a special focus on analysing how people interact in real-life health care interactions.

ARCH is a multidisciplinary group of researchers based in the Department of Primary Health Care and General Practice, University of Otago, Wellington. Members of the group and its research associates have a range of clinical and social science backgrounds in the fields of primary health care, public health, sociolinguistics, sociology, psychology and conversation analysis.

ARCH comprises a core governance group of four co-directors (Maria Stubbe, Tony Dowell, Lindsay Macdonald, Kevin Dew), two data managers (Rachel Tester and Jo Hilder) and a team of part-time researchers along with a number of New Zealand and international research associates.

Members of the ARCH group have been collecting and analysing video recordings of naturally occurring interactions between health practitioners and patients since 2003, when a small team began working on a single project (the Interaction Study). Further research grants since 2006 have allowed the group to continue to consolidate and expand its work programme. The resulting data have been archived in the ARCH Corpus of Health Interactions, a searchable digitised collection of health communication data which provides an ongoing resource for research and education on clinical communication.

More recently, the ARCH Group has started researching patient and service user experiences of health and illness using the validated narrative interview methodology followed by 12 other countries as part of DIPEX International, a consortium led by Oxford University’s Health Experiences Research Group.

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Last updated: 8 April 2021

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