Story-closing in PhD supervisory feedback: A conversation analytical study

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Storytelling has been found to be a powerful resource for supervisors to manage disagreement and secure agreement. However, little is known about how storytelling closings are implicated in the work of securing agreement and resolving disagreement. This conversation analytical study investigates story-closing practices drawing on a data corpus of 43 stories produced by six supervisors at an Australian university in the students’ first year of candidature. A major finding is that toward story-closing, tellers gradually move away from specific story events and generalise the key messages the stories convey, an action that simultaneously makes them relevant to the advice that follows. A second finding is that supervisors may add further details that shape how the story should be interpreted, thereby linking the stories to the incipient advice. These findings indicate that how stories are closed can have significant consequences for accomplishing the work relevant to the supervision.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101183
Number of pages11
JournalLinguistics and Education
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023


  • Advice
  • Conversation analysis
  • Doctoral supervision
  • Story-closing
  • Storytelling
  • Time to degree completion

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