For years I have had a yearning to take a high-res video recording of a real, in-person long conversation with some friends, and then analyze it deeply.

There is so much you can do! A few ideas follow.

  • Create a map of topics, and how they interleave throughout the conversation. Sometimes a subject dominates the conversations and disappears entirely; other times something is mentioned, quickly, again and again.
  • Look at speaker times. Who is talking, for how long? How much of the overall air-time does each person take, and in chunks of what size?
  • How much do people move during the conversation? Do people get up?
  • What is the “social function” of each story/opinion? What are we trying to convey as subtext?

Probably there are many academic fields with their own interests and methodologies that have done things like this, but it would be so fun, and interesting, to do it yourself as a fresh start.

Edit: I have been pointed to the field of “conversation analysis” and this paper in particular by the wonderful @literalbanana.