Responding to Information Requests: The Case of Inscribed Object Checks

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Kelly Katherine Frantz


 This paper explores one way that participants use inscribed objects in their immediate environment as resources for interaction. In particular, it identifies and analyzes a type of embodied response turn found in information request sequences. The data come from a video recording of family members engaged in a joint cooking activity, where they are preparing an unfamiliar dish while following recipe instructions. In this setting, participants and inscribed objects hold varying levels of epistemic rights and access regarding the task at hand. This appears to have consequences for how the interaction unfolds. As participants ask questions about the recipe, respondents repeatedly employ a particular embodied practice of checking and reading aloud the recipe, which I call an inscribed object check. An analysis of this practice and its sequential variations shows how participants draw on verbal, embodied, and environmental resources to fill knowledge gaps made relevant by information requests when the knowledge lies within inscribed objects. The findings contribute to our understanding of the role that inscribed objects play in interaction, as well as how responses to information requests are managed in everyday settings when all participants are relatively unknowledgeable about the task at hand. 

Article Details

conversation analysis, embodiment, epistemics, information requests, preference, requests