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As well as studying the literature on residence abroad and the pragmatics of intercultural communication, we have collected wide-ranging, original data from more than 60 students and staff in France and England in different types of schools.

This data has led to the establishment of a comprehensive data base which is a valuable resource for anyone involved in the assistants programme: as student participant, university administrator, school teacher or government official.


Analysis of data

Select this heading to review the Topic codes and the Goal Driven Event (GDE) codes used by the project team.


Types of data

Select this heading for an introduction to the various types of data that were collected by the project team. Each type has an individual heading in the right hand menu, select any option to review that particular set of data.



Analysis of data


Topic Codes

The list of topic codes was designed to give maximum access in terms of its searchability whilst ensuring that the categories remained reasonably broad. To code the text at a finer level of delicacy would have meant using a greater number of categories which would have been confusing both for research purposes and during the codification process. However the fact that these topics can overlap or combine means that by searching for several codes at once, the analyst is able to search for a relatively narrowly defined topic, such as ‘discipline' combined with ‘pedagogical guidance' which is likely to be the mentor/responsable advising the assistant on how to maintain discipline in class, whereas ‘discipline' combined with ‘roles and responsiblities' is likely to be a discussion about whose responsibility it is to discipline the students, or whether the assistant has the authority to give detention or other form of punishment.

View full list of topic codes


Goal Driven Event (GDE) Codes

Goal Driven Event (GDE) codes were based on the kind of behaviour/ action the talk was designed to produce. Again these were given broad and fuzzy definitions covering six areas of linguistic activity. GDEs were seen as interactively constructed ‘chunks' of talk, rather than individual moves or speaker turns. For example, ‘advising talk' may consist of one interlocutor asking for advice on a certain issue, followed by the advice being given, followed by an acceptance of the advice. Also the advising event may include other types of discourse too; there might be a discussion of the efficacy of the action advised, which might include some assessing talk. This will allow us to examine instances of embedding or overlapping between types of discourse, especially in the case of ‘supportive talk' which has a more interpersonal bias.

This type of coding was only applied to the live recordings of conversations. The témoignages, logbooks etc were difficult to codify using this method; codifiers struggled with the distinction between the goals of the interaction about which the témoignage was written, which could be very difficult to decipher at two removes (from the live interaction, to the témoignage, to the codifier) and the goals of the témoignage itself.

View GDE codes

Use the right hand menu to navigate through the various data sets collected.


Types of data


We have employed a range of methods and approaches to data collection in order to address the questions raised by the project. Each type of data can be downloaded in full by clicking on the relevant category heading in the data menu in the right hand column. The different types of data collected from assistants include:


  • CassetteTranscriptions of live conversations between assistants and mentors (referred to as entretiens) which took place on one or two occasions during the year abroad. The first recording was early on in the assistantship. In the majority of cases this took the form of an induction where the assistant talked to the member of staff assigned to them as their mentor about what their duties would be, their timetable and any practical matters. The second recording took place midway through their assistantship when they knew their mentors better.
  • Written or oral accounts of the entretiens made directly after they occurred (referred to as témoignages).
  • Journal de bordLogbooks (journaux de bord) analysing the progress of the relationship between the assistant and the mentor, written in the form of a diary.
  • Written retrospective reflections on the whole experience, as noted in final workshops held in March-April 2005 in Paris and Cambridge.
  • The completed preparation questionnaires, personality tests and 'Ness-ays,' (essays on French-ness and English-ness) collected at the workshops.

The data from mentors/responsables takes two forms:

  • Mentors' notes on the entretiens and on the development of the relationship with the assistant, made during the period of assistantship or retrospectively at the final workshops in March-April 2005.
  • Transcriptions of recorded telephone interviews conducted in June 2005 with responsables who were unable to attend the retrospective workshop in Paris.

Use the right hand menu to navigate through the various data sets collected.


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