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MoCo: Multiple conversational threads across apps

Close up of a man using a smartphone (face unseen)

Dr Caroline Tagg, Senior Lecturer in English Language and Applied Linguistics in the WELS School of Languages and Applied Linguistics, has been awarded a British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship worth £114k to carry out a 12-month research project.

Titled ‘Mobile Conversations in Context’ (MoCo), the study will run from September 2021 and aims to better understand the nature of 21st century communication and the role mobile phones play in people's busy lives as they move between multiple communication channels.

Dr Tagg says, "The interactions people have on their mobile phones don't take place in a vacuum - instead, people send messages or call others while on the move and in the middle of doing other things, all of which shapes the kinds of interactions they can have, both online and offline. This project enables us to better understand the nature of 21st century communication by exploring how this happens.”

Dr Tagg’s research into language and digital technologies is grounded on the understanding that digital communication practices are deeply embedded into individuals’ wider social, economic and political lives. Her 2012 publication, ‘Discourse of Text Messaging’ included discussion of how linguistic analysis can challenge popular assumptions regarding the detrimental effect of digital communication on language and literacy.

Findings from the MoCo project will be used to further engage the public with the research, and there are plans for a book in the future.


Read more about the MoCo project and British Academy grant on the OU Research website.

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