General practice consultation has often been characterized by pragma-dialecticians as an argumentative activity type. These characterizations are typically derived from theoretical insights and qualitative analyses. Yet, descriptions that are based on quantitative data are thus far lacking. This paper provides a detailed account of the development of an instrument to guide the quantitative analysis of argumentation in doctor–patient consultation. It describes the implementation and preliminary results of a content analysis of seventy videotaped medical consultations of which the extent and type of doctors’ argumentative support for medical opinions and advice are analyzed. Based on the study results, this paper addresses the merits of observational studies using content analysis as a method for the analysis of argumentative discourse in context as well as some of its key challenges and limitations, laying bare the opportunities for future research.
- Argumentative activity type
- Content analysis
- General practice consultation
- Pragma-dialectical theory of argumentation
- Quantitative methods