Information delivery in prenatal genetic counseling: On the role of initial inquiries

Olga ZAYTS, Munkyung KANG

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)

5 Citations (Scopus)


This paper examines the interactional accomplishment of information delivery in the context of prenatal genetic counselling (PGC) in Hong Kong. We argue that information delivery is structured as a joint activity between the healthcare provider and the patient, and the structure of the talk takes into account the patient’s experience and knowledge of medical issues. The healthcare provider ‘taps into’ the patient’s knowledge and experience by using what we call ‘initial inquiries’ as a means of introducing potentially new information. We define initial inquiries as a type of question-response sequence that initiates the speaker’s future action of information delivery. In this way, the information delivery is constructed as a joint activity and healthcare providers can also ‘tailor’ the information according to each individual patient. This study is part of a larger on-going interactional study of PGC based on video data recorded in a Prenatal Diagnostics and Counselling Department of one Hong Kong hospital between 2005 and 2008 and comprises more than 17 hours of recordings. We use a conversation analytic approach to examine the interactional organization of talk used in the accomplishment of information delivery.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)243 - 259
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Asian Pacific Communication
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes



  • conversation analysis
  • prenatal genetic counseling
  • Hong Kong context
  • initial inquiries
  • information delivery

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