Communication, Media, Social and Policy Studies


Professor Paul Drew

Photo of Professor Paul Drew

Professor of Conversation Analysis

I have taught and conducted research in Conversation Analysis for over 40 years, most of them at the University of York, then recently here at Loughborough. Over the years I’ve had visiting positions in Finland, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, and the US (UCLA), and regularly run training workshops in CA at Loughborough and internationally, in Europe, the US, China and Japan.

I am director of Loughborough University’s Advanced Methods Institute (AMI), which aims to promote LU, nationally and internationally, as a centre of excellence in social research methods; and to foster interdisciplinary research collaborations that combine methodologies in novel ways. I am (Honorary) Visiting Professor in the Centre for Advanced Studies in Pragmatics, Interaction and Communication (CASPIC), Department of English & Linguistics, University of Huddersfield. I am also the HCA Distinguished Visiting Professor at Southern Denmark University, Odense, during periods in 2016.

I am an honorary member of the China Pragmatics Association; editor of the Cambridge University Press series Studies in Interactional Sociolinguistics; a member of the board of the International Association of Conversation Analysts (ISCA); and chair of the organising committee for the next International Conference of Conversation Analysis (ICCA-18) to be held at Loughborough in July 2018. I have an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Helsinki.

My research falls into three principal areas:

  • Ordinary social interaction: Much of my research has concerned and continues to focus on the basic practices of ordinary social conversation/interaction, especially those practices through which we design our verbal and embodied conduct so at to be understood by our co-participants. At present I’m focusing especially on the practices underlying the conduct or social actions in interaction.
  • Interactions in institutional and workplace settings: I have researched extensively in legal, educational and welfare interactions. Much of this has been applied research, e.g. projects for the (London) Metropolitan Police Service, to help improve their emergency call handling services; and for the Department of Work & Pensions, to help improve the effectiveness of Personal Advisors’ interviews with benefits claimants in JobCentres.
  • Medical communication: Most recently my research has focused on medical communication, especially in doctor-patient interaction in clinical settings such as oncology, primary care, neonatology and neurology (seizure clinics), including the differential diagnosis of dementia among patients presenting at memory clinics with memory concerns; and medical helplines. These projects have been funded by the NIHR, ESRC and medical charities.
  • Postgraduate research: I’m working with a number of doctoral researchers on topics ranging from the organisation of topic in conversation, police interviews with suspects, seizure clinic consultations, childbirth, lifestyle advice in GP consultations, and primary care in Chinese hospitals.

I have joined the Loughborough team to teach on a new MA they are launching, on Conversation Analysis. This, together with the supervision of doctoral research students, will be my principal teaching role in the Department.


  • Drew,P. (1987) Po-faced receipts of teases. Linguistics, 25: 219-253.
  • Drew,P. and Heritage,J. (eds) (1992) Talk at Work: Language Use in Institutional and Work-Place Settings. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press
  • Drew,P. (1997) 'Open' class of repair initiators as responses to sequential sources of troubles in conversation. Journal of Pragmatics, 28: 69-101.
  • Drew,P. and Holt,E. (1998) Figures of speech: figurative expressions and the management of topic transition in conversation. Language in Society, 27: 495-523
  • Curl, T. and Drew, P. (2008) Contingency and action: a comparison of two forms of  requesting. Research on Language and Social Interaction, 41, 2008:1-25.
  • Drew,P, Toerien,M. Irvine,A. and Sainsbury,R. (2010) A Study of Language and Communication Between Advisers and Claimants in Work Focused Interviews. HMSO, DWP Research Report 633.
  • Enfield, N, Drew, P. et al. (2012) Huh? What? A first survey in 20 languages. In Hayashi, M., Raymond, G. and Sidnell, J. eds., Conversational Repair and Human Understanding. Cambridge University Press: 543-597.
  • Robson, C., Drew, P. & Reuber,M. (2012)  Catasrophising and normalising in conversations between doctors and patients with epileptic and psychogenic nonepileptic seizures. Seizure: European Journal of Epilepsy 21: 795-801.
  • Drew,P. and Heritage,J. (eds) (2013) Contemporary Studies in Conversation Analysis (4 volumes). London, Sage Benchmarks in Social Research Methods series.
  • Toerien, M., Sainsbury, R., Drew, P. & Irvine, A. (2013) Putting personalization into practice: Work-focused interviews in Jobcentre Plus, Journal of Social Policy, 42: 309-327.
  • Leydon, G., Ekberg, K. & Drew, P. (2013) “How can I help?” Nurse call openings on a cancer helpline and implications for call progressivity. Patient Education & Counselling, 92: 23-30.
  • Drew, P. (2013) Turn design. In T.Stivers and J.Sidnell (eds.)  Handbook of Conversation Analysis. Blackwell:131-149.
  • Drew,P. and Couper-Kuhlen,E. (Eds.) (2014) Requesting in Social Interaction, Amsterdam, Benjamins.
  • Drew, P., Toerien, M., Irvine, A. & Sainsbury, R. (2014) Personal advisor interviews with benefits claimants in UK Jobcentres. Research on Language & Social Interaction, 47: 306-316.
  • Drew,P., Heritage,J., Lerner,G. and Pomerantz,A. (Eds.) (2015) Talking About Troubles in Conversation (papers by Gail Jefferson). New York, Oxford University Press.
  • Woods,C., Drew,P. & Leydon,G. (2015) Closing calls to a cancer helpline: expressions of caller satisfaction. Patient Education & Counseling, 98: 943-953.
  • Elsey,C., Drew,P., Jones,D., Blackburn,D., Wakefield,S., Harkness,K., Venneri,A. & Reuber,M. (2015) Towards diagnostic conversational profiles of patients presenting with dementia or functional memory disorders to memory clinics. Patient Education & Counseling, 98: 1071-1077.