The Effectiveness of Dialogue in Forms of Communication, Past and Present

Summary

“Why dialogue?”
This question is easily interpreted as a cynical one, which testifies to the positive value associated with dialogue: the joint exploration of a question and possible answers, aimed at clarification, if not resolution (not just the expression of conflicting opinions).
This value of dialogue explains why the form of dialogue, in constructed conversation, is used frequently in many communicative situations, and why the structure of such dialogues is predominantly Question+Answer. We find it in interviews, talk shows, Q&A webpages, and speeches; people use “fictive interaction” spontaneously in their conversations, elucidating their own or other people’s position; articles explaining the background of the news take the form of questions with answers. Moreover, dialogue was a popular literary and educational genre until at least the 17th century.
The omnipresence in modern media and the long literary and scientific traditions of dialogue writing contrast sharply with:
the small amount of shared knowledge in the various disciplines studying dialogue, about the mechanisms making it an effective tool for communication, teaching, and thinking,
the fact that communication professionals’ experience with dialogue hardly informs academic research, and, conversely, that such scientific insights as there are, hardly feeds practice.
We believe these facts are related, and that the way to remedy this situation is to connect the various disciplines and the professional field in a joint effort to build a platform for research into the factors underlying dialogue’s effectiveness, and to make the resulting insights benefit both education and communication consultancy. “Hence dialogue!”

Details

Project number

314-98-112

Main applicant

Dr. G. Warnar

Affiliated with

Universiteit Leiden, Faculteit der Geesteswetenschappen, Leiden University Centre for Linguistics (LUCL)

Duration

01/01/2018 to 31/10/2018