Potentials of Forestry Extension Encounters: A Conversation Analysis Approach


This article assesses co-operative features of forestry advising encounters with an emphasis on their pedagogical positioning. The study argues that only an in-depth analysis can reveal the multifaceted nature of the advisory interaction and provide systematic justifications for extension service enhancement. Authentic video recordings of advisory encounters between a forestry extension advisor (FEA) and family forest owners (FFOs) are scrutinized using the qualitative approach of conversation analysis and the initiation–response–evaluation pedagogical sequence model. Although the actual interplay of the participants was founded on a distinct role differentiation (i.e. teacher–student), situational and contingent variations between formal and informal positioning emerged. The FFOs proved active in making initiatives (e.g. posing questions) and thus influencing the agenda of the meetings, whereas the FEA’s speech turns were mostly used to restore the conventional hierarchical positioning. However, the results show that expert-directed service and customer-orientated services are not mutually exclusive. Effective forestry advisory practice is a rather socially motivated action embodied with talk and other means of communication. Thus the current emphasis on Internet-based services provides only halfway solutions, because virtual guidance lacks many of the interactive elements provided in face-to-face advisory encounters.

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The first author of the paper is grateful to the Emil Aaltonen Foundation for providing a doctoral scholarship. Both authors sincerely thank the editor and reviewers for their valuable and constructive comments.

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Correspondence to Outi Virkkula.

Appendix: Transcript Conventions

Appendix: Transcript Conventions

Based on Jefferson (2004, 24–31).


contrastive emphasis or stress


concurrence of speech and action in relation to the original talk (indexed by numbers inside brackets




length of silence in approximate seconds


no break or gap between or within turns


talk between the arrows is slowed down


talk between the arrows is speeded up


stretching of sound


softer sounds than surrounding talk


audible in-breath


audible outbreath


word is cut off


untranscribable words


transcriber’s descriptions

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Virkkula, O., Hujala, T. Potentials of Forestry Extension Encounters: A Conversation Analysis Approach. Small-scale Forestry 13, 407–423 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11842-014-9262-x

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  • Collaboration
  • Customer service
  • Forestry advisory
  • Forest management planning
  • Institutional interaction