SNF Project "Language and Health Online"

This project concerned itself with language that is used on the Internet in the context of (mental) health. Please explore its aims and scope on this website. The project was hosted by the English Department of the University of Basel (2012-2016). The research team is headed by Prof. Miriam A. Locher, who holds a Chair in the Linguistics of English at the Department of Languages and Literatures of  the University of Basel, Switzerland. The researchers employed on this project were Franziska Thurnherr and Marie-Thérèse Rudolf von Rohr. In April 2016, the project organized a two-day symposium, which completed the project.

The SNF Project

This linguistic project investigates e(lectronic)-health interaction in asynchronous, written computer-mediated communication. By exploring this interface from a particularly linguistic perspective, we endeavor to contribute to a better understanding of e-health practices.

Health serves as our site of research. We investigate how health issues are communicated and how specific health related activities such as persuasion and advice are constructed. 
We are specifically looking at health discourses that are performed online  – hence, they are computer-mediated. This means that any part of the communication between provider and providee is done electronically.

Finally, the project concerns itself with the language that is used to convey the communication. We research the linguistic constructions of these computer-mediated health discourses. Our focus, therefore, lies in how providees are encouraged to type themselves healthy with the help of the providers.

The project consists of two parts: “Persuasion in smoking cessation online” and “Relational work in email counseling”, which pursue joined as well as individual research questions. 

Aims

This project aims at furthering our understanding of how two particular e-health practices work from a linguistic point of view. The scientific gains will be manifold and we will contribute to all three research fields.
Our systematic analysis of public health sites and private therapeutic email interaction will help to better comprehend these e-health practices and will highlight the role of language in two particular case studies. Our focus on e-health will advance our understanding of how situational and medium factors interact in computer-mediated communication.
Second, we will add to linguistic theory on persuasion, relational work and identity construction. We will provide valuable insight into these aspects by looking at the discursive achievement of interpersonal effects. Particularly, we will analyze the interplay between relational work and identity construction, which is an emerging field of research (see Locher 2011). Bucholtz and Hall (2005: 605) argue that “identity is inherently relational”, however, how the link between identity and relational work plays out in interaction is not clear yet. Our analysis of actual language in use will shed further light on this connection.
Third, our findings will be made available to site providers and therapists as an important part of our project is to work applied. We are, for example, working on providing therapists with a linguistic perspective of their online work to complement their training in psychology.

The project consists of two parts: “Persuasion in smoking cessation online” and “Relational work in email counseling”, which pursue joined as well as individual research questions.

Background

In the last decades the Internet has evolved to become an important source of information for health concerns (cf. Richardson 2005). There are many professional information sites, peer-support sites for patients, mailing lists, etc. This makes online health communication an important research field for different disciplines. The linguistic study of online health practices sheds light on how language is used to create meaningful exchanges between professionals and patients and between lay people. A linguist study of these practices is especially pertinent because e-health is predominantly a written mode, relying crucially on language. We are focusing on two areas of health practices that share an element of persuasion: Anti-smoking campaigns and smoking cessation help sites as well as email therapy contain aspects of “attempt[ing] to evoke a specific change in the attitudes or behaviors of an audience”, which is the definition of persuasion provided by Jowett et al. (1999: 28). We wish to study these ‘sites of persuasion’ as an interactive process from a linguistic perspective.

Professional health Internet sites usually have either a mandate to inform and enlighten a particular target population (cf. e.g. the national and governmental sites) and/or they have the clear aim to contribute to risk prevention and change in behavior of the target group. In a similar vein, online therapists strive to help their patients find their way through a problem by means of the ‘talking cure’, although – crucially for our project – carried out in the written mode. Language is thus exploited for persuasion to achieve these goals. While persuasive strategies on smoking cessation might be expected to be more straightforward than in the non-directive genre of therapy, it is our goal to learn what linguistic persuasion strategies emerge in the different practices. Our methodological approach is positioned within interactional discourse analysis in that we study language in use and wish to explore the variation that we encounter. We are particularly interested in interpersonal pragmatics, i.e. the study of language in use that focuses on the relational side of the practices involved. A combination of the study of the relational aspect of language with language use for persuasive means is an important combination for our research of e-health communication. It is important to stress that we are going to operationalize persuasion by looking at linguistic surface strategies as found in the practices that contain a persuasive orientation rather than looking at psychological effects of persuasive acts in the readers.

Research questions

To investigate the interactive process of persuasion in the frames of smoking cessation and therapeutic discourse, we will address the following overarching questions: 

(1) What characteristic activities are employed in the different practices (e.g. conveying information, giving advice or reflecting on interactants’ interpretations of events or relationships, inviting introspection, …)?; 

(2) What linguistic strategies are employed to achieve these activities?; 

(3) What is the relation between the patterns of linguistic strategies and the creation of interpersonal effects (e.g. solidarity, empathy, power, the therapeutic alliance)? The close collaboration and continual exchange of results between both parts of the project will provide important insights into the dynamic, discursive construction of two online health communication practices from a distinctly linguistic perspective, will add to linguistic theory in the field of interpersonal pragmatics, and will be useful for practitioners.

While the two sub-projects share the main theoretical pillars and the overall research aim, each study will also pursue individual and clearly different research questions derived from the specific theoretical setting and data situation. As the graph outlines, the subprojects broaden our scope in all three research fields.  We are specifically looking at two distinct practices of health communication: smoking cessation and counseling. Whereas smoking cessation deals with adjusting or preventing risk behavior, counseling supports a client in an emotionally difficult situation. Both sub-projects look at written, asynchronous communication. However, by choosing differing modes of online communication, we can further our understanding of challenges and possibilities in these specific modes. The subproject on smoking cessation works with website and forum data that is public, while the sub-project on email counseling looks at private and one-to-one exchanges. Finally, our linguistic focus differs slightly stemming from the specific data sets that we have chosen. The “smoking cessation” project deals with persuasion in a more direct way as persuasion is a clear aim of the participants involved on the sites. Persuasion in the “email counseling” project, on the other hand, differs in that the therapist does not try to persuade a client to carry out a specific proposed action. Rather, the therapist and client work on the client’s issues through their relationship. While the two approaches clearly overlap, this diversification of the over-arching research questions will allow us to give a more rounded account of persuasion and relational work in health communication online. Please also read the information on the sub-projects “Persuasion in smoking cessation online” and “Relational work in email counseling” below.

Persuasion in smoking cessation online (M.-T. Rudolf von Rohr)

In this subproject, we concern ourselves with persuasion in public health discourse online. We are interested in how the health risk “smoking” is communicated in a computer-mediated context, how it is constructed through language, what patterns emerge and how we can link these findings to persuasion. Therefore, we will analyze a variety of public smoking cessation online resources, which range from governmental websites to lay peer-to-peer forums. We will focus on the interpersonal dimension of persuasion; that is, how it exploits relational as well as informational aspects of language.

Setting the scene
Smoking cessation is an ideal topic to investigate. On the one hand, the dangers of smoking to one’s health are undisputed; according to Cancer Research UK, it is “UK’s single greatest cause of preventable illness and early death […]”. Hence, lifestyle changes reduce harm posed to the individual. On the other, as it says on the same Cancer research website, the UK health department considers “help for the individual to stop smoking” and education as part of necessary measures to reduce smoking related deaths. Education is action through language geared to persuade addressees to quit smoking or not to take it up at all. The underlying idea is that the right information empowers patients.  
Much educational material has been relegated to online sources, in form of institutional or professional websites, providing different informational resources. Searching the Internet for health information seems to become common practice. Armstrong et al. (2011) point to a survey in 2009 in the UK, which shows that the practice of looking for health information online has drastically increased among users. Another important part of public health discourse online is peer-to-peer sites, such as forums. These sites are an ideal place for establishing networks between non-experts, in which users support each other, give each other advice, reevaluate their reasons for quitting and make sense of stopping smoking. 

Aims
One of our aims is to contribute to linguistic theory by shedding light on the link between persuasive linguistic strategies and relational work. Relational work is defined as “[…] all aspects of the work invested by individuals in the construction, maintenance, reproduction and transformation of interpersonal relationships among those engaged in social practice” (Locher and Watts 2008: 96). Traditional rhetoric has identified “three working principles of persuasion”: 1) credibility/trust, 2) emotional appeal, and 3) truth of arguments (ethos, pathos, logos). In our opinion, these principles point to the importance of the interpersonal in persuasion. Our goal is to figure out how persuasive strategies interplay or overlap with strategies that are employed to construct relationships. For example, strategies that appeal to solidarity can simultaneously have a relational and a persuasive function.
We are also interested in the impact of the medium on persuasion in smoking cessation sites. Warnick (2007) has identified interactivity and intertextuality as rhetorical elements that are specific to online sources, and which have an effect on the language used. One of our interests lies in investigating the interplay between text and multimodal elements (photographs, videos, audio material). 

Main research questions

  • How is each site set up? How are they similar to and different from each other?
  • How can we define “persuasion” for a linguistic analysis, situating it on an interpersonal dimension?
  • What patterns of language are employed in the different practices? How can they be linked to the aim of persuading the readers to quit smoking? What are the most common arguments to persuade?
  • How are experts positioned on professional websites in order to get their points across in acts of persuasion? How are expertise and credibility created through language to persuade?
  • How are smokers portrayed on professional websites in order to be persuaded? What linguistic strategies are used?
  • In analogy, what strategies of persuasion can be found on peer-to-peer sites and how do they differ from professional sites?
  • How do the identified strategies of persuasion differ from or overlap with strategies to enhance a relationship?

Marie-Thérèse Rudolf von Rohr's PhD was defended in 2017 and published as an open access monograph in 2018

Relational Work and Identity Construction in Email Counselling (F. Thurnherr)

This subproject is concerned with the interpersonal aspects relational work and identity construction in counseling online. The focus lies on the interpersonal communication between therapist and client: how is the relationship between therapist and client – the therapeutic alliance – discursively constructed when the communication is solely in written form? In order to investigate the therapeutic alliance, we will analyze how the practice of e-therapy through email works, what kind of activities are used in the email exchanges, and what linguistic realizations are used to convey these activities.

The resulting descriptive framework of linguistic strategies will then be analyzed in light of their interpersonal aspect: how can the strategies be linked to either endangering or enhancing the therapeutic alliance. By conducting the first study that explores written email counseling from a linguistic perspective, we work in collaboration with practitioners in order to shed light on the use of language. Additionally, we will add to the emerging research direction in interpersonal pragmatics of linking relational work and identity construction. 

Ethical Considerations
In a study on email counseling, it is of course vital to closely look at ethical considerations and to ensure that both the therapist as well as the client are protected from any possible harm through the study. We strictly follow the four ethical pillars of the Georgetown Mantra on Ethical Medical Research and the ethical guidelines put forward by the Association of Internet Researchers (AoIR) Ethics Committee (Markham et al.: 2012), in order to ensure that the therapists’ as well as their clients’ confidentiality and anonymity is protected at all times. We have outlined a specific data collection plan in order to comply with these guidelines: 
On the one hand, the therapists will be the sole contact between researcher and client. Hence, the therapist asks his or her clients whether they agree to release their data to us for research in an anonymized form (including publication of linguistic examples). We have chosen this data collection process for two reasons:

  • The client can be assured that no identifying information will be revealed in the study, not even to the researchers.
  • Since the therapists are more knowledgeable of the identifying markers of their clients, they will be able to anonymize the appropriate information more accurately.

On the other hand, we will make sure that any information left that seems to be identifying the client or the therapist will be checked with the therapist and made anonymous as well. These careful steps will warrant the privacy of both therapist and client appropriately and impeccably. All these ethical guidelines will be upheld during the entire duration of the project.  

Research Questions
In addition to the overarching research questions of the project, the following research questions are investigated in this sub-project:

  • What are the technical characteristics of email counseling? i.e.: what medium specific elements can be identified for email counseling?
  • What activities (discursive moves) can be found in the practice?
  • What consecutive structure of discursive moves can be found throughout the email exchanges?
  • How can the discursive moves be linked to relational work that endangers or enhances the therapeutic alliance?
  • How are the therapist and client constructing their identities in the exchanges?
  • How can the structure of discursive moves throughout the exchange be linked to possible changes in relational work and the construction of identities?
  • What strategies concerning relational work and identity construction seem to especially enhance the therapeutic alliance?

April 15–16, 2016

University of Basel, Switzerland 

In the last decades the Internet has evolved to become an important source of information for health concerns. There are many professional information sites, peer-support sites for patients, mailing lists, online counselling services, and so on. In these contexts, language plays a central role in how health issues are communicated and how health-related activities such as shared decision-making, collaboration, or persuasion, are carried out. Internet users are encouraged to type themselves healthy through language with the help of peers or professionals.

Covering a broad range from mental and medical health issues to healthy life style concerns, the symposium aims to explore how language is used in e-health practices:

  • To construct the patient-doctor/client-therapist relationship
  • To persuade users of healthy lifestyle changes
  • To give support among peers (e.g. in online support groups)
  • To establish trust  in peer-to-peer and in professional-lay contexts
  • To create expertise by lay people and professionals
  • To talk about specific illnesses and health risks
  • To adapt content and language for target groups (kids, teenagers, adults, particular conditions, etc.)

Invited keynote speakers

Nelya Koteyko, Queen Mary University London (confirmed)
Wyke Stommel, Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen (confirmed)
Elizabeth Sillence, Northumbria University Newcastle (confirmed)

The symposium provides a platform for researchers and practitioners from different disciplines such as linguistics, psychology and anthropology, as well as the public to share findings and insights concerning e-health communication. By engaging in a dialogue with researchers from different fields we work towards a better understanding of e-health practices overall, which can be of use and interest to health practitioners as well. This symposium is going to be the endpoint of the SNF-funded research project “Language and Health Online” (NGK1912).

Scientific Committee

Najma Al Zidjaly (Sultan Qaboos University), Jo Angouri (University of Warwick), Pilar Garcés-Conejos Blitvich (UNC Charlotte), Cynthia Gordon (Syracuse), Kevin Harvey (Nottingham), Andreas H. Jucker (Zurich), Miriam A. Locher (Basel), Peter Schulz (Lugano)

Report on symposium by Franziska Thurnherr

The members of the SNF-project “Language and Health Online”, organized an international research symposium on how language is used in health discourses that are taking place online. The symposium aimed to bring researchers and practitioners from various disciplines together to exchange the newest insights from research that centers around the three fields of language, computer-mediated communication, and health. 

The symposium was visited by 46 researchers and practitioners from 11 countries, who gave 27 oral and 4 poster presentations. Additionally, 20 students of the University of Basel profited from attending an international research event and gaining first-hand experience of such an academic event.
The symposium also allowed us to present our own research conducted during the duration of the Language and Health Online-project. Miriam Locher introduced the project overall, highlighting methodological steps and elaborating on some of the results of our joint research questions, such as the similarities and differences of narrative functions found in the three e-health practices we research. Marie-Thérèse Rudolf von Rohr presented her findings with regards to how relational work and identity construction were used as discursive tools to persuade relapsing smokers to continue their quit journey. Franziska Thurnherr illustrated how a counselor works collaboratively with clients to resolve the counseling process by acknowledging the client’s improvement and regained independence from the therapeutic alliance.

Three keynote speakers that are prominent in the intersecting research niche of language use in e-health reported on their newest research projects: Dr. Elizabeth Sillence from the Northumbria University, UK, elaborated on how trust can be built in online interactions concerning health. Dr. Nelya Koteyko, Queen Mary University London, talked about how language is used to create identity in Facebook groups centering around health. Finally, Prof. Dr. Wyke Stommel from Radboud Universiteit in the Netherlands described how closings of online counseling sessions were jointly negotiated.

10 thematic sessions ranged from metaphor use, illness narratives, a panel on HIV/AIDS, to the establishment of experience, expertise and trust in health discourses. In these thematic sessions, researchers presented their newest results from studies: Nadine Chariatte (University of Bern, Switzerland), for example, presented her work on how South Africans use emoticons and graphic signs when talking about HIV/AIDS on Facebook. Anna-Malin Karlson (Uppsala University) and Mats Landqvist (Södertörn University) showed differences in language use by experts and lay people when discussing heart defects of toddlers. Martina Breuning from the University of Freiburg i.Br., Germany, reported on how insights from previous studies have informed the construction of peer videos that are used to help patients talk about their illnesses. 

At a closing roundtable, the participants discussed various implications of the research presented at the symposium. Questions such as how perspectives from various disciplines on the same subject could be better integrated and how researchers can and should make their insights available to practitioners were discussed.

All in all, the symposium was a vibrant exchange of ideas, methodologies, and research results from many different disciplines. The focus on language and e-health allowed us to have in-depth discussions and exchanges that enriched everyone’s interest in the specific field and many of the attendees expressed a desire to continue with such an event on language and health online in the future.

We would like to thank all the participants and presenters for their attendance and for sharing their ideas, insights and research results with us. Their invaluable contributions and enthusiasm made the symposium not just a platform to exchange research, but also a place to connect with colleagues who share an interest in online health discourse and a passion to contribute to improving e-health practices. We’d also like to thank the Englische Seminar and its staff for their support, especially Sixta Quassdorf, Denise Kaufmann and Carmela Cudemo. Additionally, we thank all our sponsors for making the symposium possible and allowing us to end our project on such a positive note. 

Language and Health Online: Publications

Rudolf von Rohr, Marie-Thérèse. (2015). 'You will be glad you hung onto this quit': Sharing information and giving support when stopping smoking online. In: C. A. Smith and A. Keselman (eds.), Meeting Health Information Needs Outside of Healthcare: Opportunities and Challenge, 263-290. Waltham, MA: Chandos Publishing.

Rudolf von Rohr, Marie-Thérèse (2018). Persuasion in smoking cessation online (PhD). Freiburg: Universitätsbibliothek Freiburg. Open access.

Rudolf von Rohr, Marie-Thérèse, Thurnherr, Franziska, & Locher, Miriam A. (2019). Linguistic expert creation in online health practices. In Patricia Bou-Franch & Pilar Garcés-Conejos Blitvich (Eds.), Analysing Digital Discourse: New Insights and Future Directions, 219-250.London and New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Thurnherr, Franziska, Rudolf von Rohr, Marie-Thérèse and Locher, Miriam A. (2016). The functions of narrative passages in three written online health contextsOpen Linguistics 2: 450-470.

 

Language and Health Online: Publications, in prep

Rudolf von Rohr, Marie-Thérèse, & Locher, Miriam A. (under review). The interpersonal effects of complimenting others and self-praise in online health environments. In María Elena Placencia, Anupam Das, & Zohreh R. Eslami (Eds.), Complimenting behaviour across social media: New contexts and emerging trends. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Thurnherr, Fanziska (in prep.) Relational work and identity construction in email counseling. (PhD)

 

Language and Health Online: special issue (open access)

Special issue for Lingustics Online: Language and Health Online (2017)

Locher, Miriam A., & Thurnherr, Franziska. (2017). Typing yourself healthy:  Introduction to the special issue on language and health online. Linguistics Online, 87(8/17), 1-24. http://dx.doi.org/10.13092/lo.87.4170

 

Al Zidjaly, Najma. (2017). Mental health and Islamic religion online:  An intertextual analysis. Linguistics Online, 87(8/17), 167-189. http://dx.doi.org/10.13092/lo.87.4178

Andersen, Elisabeth Muth. (2017). Typing yourself accountable: Objectifying subjective experiences in an online health forum. Linguistics Online, 87(8/17), 43-68. http://dx.doi.org/10.13092/lo.87.4172

Chariatte, Nadine. (2017). HIV/AIDS in South Africa: Graphic signs countering the stigma and silence. Linguistics Online, 87(8/17), 127-150. http://dx.doi.org/10.13092/lo.87.4176

Cochrane, Leslie E. (2017). An imagined community of practice:  Online discourse among wheelchair users. Linguistics Online, 87(8/17), 151-166. http://dx.doi.org/10.13092/lo.87.4177

Fage-Butler, Marie-Antoinette. (2017). Hub of medical expertise or medicalized conveyor-belt? Sharing meanings online on the hospital birth setting. Linguistics Online, 87(8/17), 69-85. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.13092/lo.87.4173

Jager, Margot, & Stommel, Wyke. (2017). The risk of metacommunication to manage interactional trouble in online chat counseling. Linguistics Online, 87(8/17), 191-212. http://dx.doi.org/10.13092/lo.87.4179

Lindholm, Loukia. (2017). 'So now I'm panic attack free!': Response stories in a peer-to-peer online advice forum on pregnancy and parenting. Linguistics Online, 87(8/17), 25-41. http://dx.doi.org/10.13092/lo.87.4171

Rudolf von Rohr, Marie-Thérèse. (2017). 'If you start again, don't worry. You haven’t failed' Relapse talk and motivation in online smoking cessation. Linguistics Online, 87(8/17), 87-105. http://dx.doi.org/10.13092/lo.87.4174

Sillence, Elizabeth. (2017). Having faith in the online voice: Exploring contemporary issues of trust, language and advice in the context of e-health. Linguistics Online, 87(8/17), 107-125. http://dx.doi.org/10.13092/lo.87.4175

Thurnherr, Franziska. (2017). 'As it’s our last exchange next time…' The closure initiation in email counseling. Linguistics Online, 87(8/17), 213-236. http://dx.doi.org/10.13092/lo.87.4180

LHO-Teaching transfer

M. Locher : Language on internet health sites, AT 2011

In this workshop based course we will first work on the theoretical fields of computer-mediated language and health communication and then develop research question for this communicative interface. After this we will explore the use of the English language on different types of Internet sites in English that topicalize health issues (e.g. peer-to-peer blog support sites; professional information sites; health insurance sites, etc.).

M. Locher: Language and health, ST 2016

In this lecture course the focus is on 'language in use' in situations where health plays a role. We will investigate how people interact in situations such as doctor's appointments, or counselling sessions, as well as how health educators package their persuasive messages in online Internet sites such as advice columns or smoking cessation websites and fora. The speech acts of advice giving, information giving and suggesting will be discussed in detail, while the contextual factors of the studied practices will be taken into account when analyzing. The lecture is situated within the field of pragmatics and in particular within the field of applied linguistics and discourse analysis. Due to its interdisciplinary nature, the lecture will also present insights from discursive psychology, sociology and the medical humanities.

M. Locher: Typing yourself healthy, ST2016

In the last decades the Internet has evolved to become an important source of information for health concerns. There are many professional information sites, peer-support sites for patients, mailing lists, online counselling services, and so on. In these contexts, language plays a central role in how health issues are communicated and how health-related activities such as shared decision-making, collaboration, or persuasion, are carried out. Internet users are encouraged to type themselves healthy through language with the help of peers or professionals. The symposium provides a platform for researchers and practitioners from different disciplines such as linguistics, psychology and anthropology, as well as the public to share findings and insights concerning e-health communication. By engaging in a dialogue with researchers from different fields we work towards a better understanding of e-health practices overall, which can be of use and interest to health practitioners as well. This symposium is going to be the endpoint of the SNF-funded research project "Language and Health Online" (NGK1912) and is open to students and the public.

M. Locher: Health and language in action, AT2016

In this course on the research interface of linguistics and health studies, students will work on data that they collected themselves from a number of methodological and theoretical angles. They will develop research questions and work on sharpening analytical tools. The program will be jointly put together at the beginning of term with the aim to gain experience in analyzing a variety of different practices and to account for the interests of the participants. This seminar continues the topic of language and health introduced in the lecture in spring term 16. Having attended this lecture is recommended but not a necessary entry requirement.

LHO-Applied transfer

Email counseling workshop in UK, spring 2017 (F. Thurnherr)

LHO-Activities at conferences and symposia

2018

Locher, Miriam A.
Evidence of relational work online: Conflict and (dis)agreement, Diskurse – digital: Theorien, Methoden, Fallstudien, Berlin. (invited)

 

2017

Locher, Miriam A. 
12 May. Interpersonal pragmatics: a relational lens on online health practices. Paper presented at the New Developments in Linguistic Pragmatics, Lodz, Poland. (Plenary)

2016

Symposium on Language and Health Online

Locher, Miriam A., Franziska Thurnherr, Marie-Thérèse Rudolf von Rohr,
April 15-16 2016 "Language and Health Online: Trust, credibility, information- and advice-giving." Presentation at Symposium on Language and Health Online, University of Basel, Switzerland. 

Rudolf von Rohr, Marie-Thérèse
April 15-16 2016 "Interpersonal pragmatics and persuasion in smoking cessation online." Presentation at Symposium on Language and Health Online, University of Basel, Switzerland. 

Thurnherr, Franziska
April 15-16 2016 ""I can see a massive improvement in myself": Identity and relational work in email counseling." Presentation at Symposium on Language and Health Online, University of Basel, Switzerland. 

2015

Thurnherr, Franziska, Marie-Thérèse Rudolf von Rohr, and Miriam A. Locher
November 18-20 2015 "Linguistic expert creation in online health practices." Presentation at ADDA conference, University of Valencia, Spain. 

Rudolf von Rohr, Marie-Thérèse, Franziska Thurnherr, and Miriam A. Locher
June 26-27 2015 ""beau, me and hubby quit cold turkey too": The functions of 'narratives' in two written online health contexts." Presentation at Workshop 'Personal Narrative Online', University of Bayreuth, Germany. 

Thurnherr, Franziska, and Miriam A. Locher
April 9-11 2015 ""How can people be so angry with me when I'm so harmless?" or how language impacts identity construction in email counseling." Presentation at I-MEAN 4 conference, University of Warwick, United Kingdom. 

2014

Thurnherr, Franziska, Marie-Thérèse Rudolf von Rohr, and Miriam A. Locher
September 10-12 2014 "Studying identity construction in written health practices with a mixed methodology approach." Presentation in the thematic symposium "On micro- /macro-, written- /spoken- and other analytical binaries. Towards unpacking theories and methodologies for the study of 'identity' in health care research." At the 4th International Conference Applied Linguistics and Professional Practice (ALAPP), University of Geneva, Switzerland. 

Rudolf von Rohr, Marie-Thérèse
June 26-28 2014 "Persuasion through identity construction in advice giving in online smoking cessation." 
Presentation at the 12th COMET conference, Università della Svizzera Italiana USI, Lugano, Switzerland.
  
Thurnherr, Franziska
June 26-28 2014 "Email writing as identity construction? How writing constructs clients as moving from advice-seeker to active participant in email counseling." Presentation at the 12th COMET conference, Università della Svizzera Italiana USI, Lugano, Switzerland.

2013

Thurnherr, Franziska
November 28-29 ""Relational Work" und Identitätskonstruktion in Email-Therapien." Oral and Paper Presentation at the conference "Digital Humanities: Neue Herausforderungen für den Forschungsplatz Schweiz" of the Schweizerische Akademie der Geistes- und Sozialwissenschaften (SAGW), Bern, Switzerland. 

Rudolf von Rohr, Marie-Thérèse
July 11-13 2013 "'Everyone's quit journey is different': Comparing persuasion on two smoking cessation websites." Presentation at 11th COMET conference, University of Melbourne, Australia.

Thurnherr, Franziska
July 11-13 2013 "'Together, we will look for the path ahead and the life you can make whole again.' The relationship between therapist and client in email counseling as the driving force for change." Presentation at 11th COMET conference, University of Melbourne, Australia.  

Rudolf von Rohr, Marie-Thérèse
April 18-20 2013 "'Welcome back hon- you know you have made the right decision' - The persuasive nature of user identities in a smoking cessation forum." Presentation at i-Mean Identity and Language Conference, University of the West of England (UWE) Bristol, UK.

Thurnherr, Franziska
April 18-20 2013 "The Re-Negotiation of Identities in Email Counseling." Presentation at i-Mean Identity and Language Conference, University of the West of England (UWE) Bristol, UK.

Thurnherr, Franziska
February 2013 “’How can I support you?’ Identity Construction and Relational Work in Email Counseling” Presentation at Swiss Workings in English Languages and Linguistics (SWELL) meeting University of Zurich, Switzerland.

2012

Rudolf von Rohr, Marie-Thérèse
October 2012 “La persuasión en sitios web antitabaco- It becomes so much easier with the right information.” Presentation at X Encuentro Hispano-Suizo de Filólogos Noveles, University of Basel, Switzerland.

Rudolf von Rohr, Marie-Thérèse
June 2012 “Persuasion on professional and peer-to-peer anti-smoking websites in the UK.” Presentation at 10th COMET conference Norwegian University of Science and Technology Trondheim, Norway.

Rudolf von Rohr, Marie-Thérèse
June 2012 Focus Group Presentation on the project “Persuasion in UK smoking cessation sites.” Summer School: Research on Computer-Mediated Communication in Linguistics (RCMCL), organised by the University of Basel, Switzerland.

Thurnherr, Franziska
June 2012 Focus Group Presentation on the project “Email Counseling and Relational Work.” Summer School: Research on Computer-Mediated Communication in Linguistics (RCMCL), organised by the University of Basel, Switzerland. 

Rudolf von Rohr, Marie-Thérèse
April 2012 “Persuasion in UK smoking cessation sites.” Presentation at Workshop in Sociolinguistics with Prof. Dr. Alexandra D’Arcy, University of Basel, Switzerland.

Thurnherr, Franziska
April 2012 “Relational Work in Email Counseling.” Presentation at Workshop in Sociolinguistics with Prof. Dr. Alexandra D’Arcy, University of Basel, Switzerland. 

Thurnherr, Franziska
April 2012 “Relational Work in Email Counseling: A Project Outline.“ Presentation at the Doctoral Research Colloquium of the Hermann Paul School of Linguistics Basel, Switzerland.

2011

Rudolf von Rohr, Marie-Thérèse
December 2011 “Persuasion involving risk situation in online health sites.” Presentation at EUCOR conference University of Strasbourg, France.

Rudolf von Rohr, Marie-Thérèse
March 2011 “Manufacturing consent: Persuasion involving risk situation in online health sites.” Presentation at Swiss Workings in English Languages and Linguistics (SWELL) meeting University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland.