The Importance Of Interactional Analysis

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Interactional analysis is the empirical analysis of human interaction with one another and with the environment (Jordan & Henderson, 1994). Unlike typical interpersonal communication research, interactional analysis is concerned with observing the interaction among people, and not with the cognitive functions of the individual. Therefore, this type of research requires an outside observer to view and categorize behaviors for later analysis. Researchers will often utilize a coding system to provide operational definitions of the behaviors they intend to observe. A unified coding system is essential for this type of research in order to replicate studies and generalize findings to the population. The analysis of parent- child interactions has highlighted the difficulties associated with research completed without a unified coding system. Without a general coding scheme to code results, a study cannot be considered reliable because it cannot be replicated. Because the results of these studies cannot be replicated without a coding system, reliability cannot be calculated and findings cannot be compared and generalized to the population.
Reliability refers to the consistency of a research study or test. According to Courtright, reliability is the belief
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Because humans are susceptible to biased interpretations of interactions, it is necessary to have a clearly defined coding system to deem the results of this method of analysis reliable. The validity of these results and their generalization of the population rests on the foundation of reliability. Because the study of parent- child interactions do not have a unified, defined coding system, the results produced under this type of analysis cannot be deemed reliable because they cannot be retested. To correct this issue, a new coding system must be created which addresses the issues specific to parent- child

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