Example Research: Sacks (1967)

The origins of Conversation Analysis
 
Suicide
 
As you know by now the research of Harvey Sacks was right down at the grass-roots of CA, beginning with his insight into calls to the suicide prevention hotline he worked at. In Sacks' Fall Lecture of 1964 he said that his interest in the details of human conversation came from the a concern held by the hospital that certain callers would not disclose their names.[1]  The question being asked was whether or not something could be done to help callers feels comfortable enough to offer their names to the hotline. As a result Sacks began to look into the sensitivities of call openings. The observations gleamed from this analysis led to the foundations of Conversation Analysis as we see it today. 
 
Sacks also analysed other aspects of conversation interaction, that in comparison to his research into suicide could be considered mundane and somewhat trivial, however this was used in an attempt to appreciate the 'extraordinary richness and multifacedness of Sacks' corpus'. 

Telling News
 
Sacks insisted that the achievement of a two party conversation is a skilful, collaborative accomplishment, but such collaboration is not limited to talk between strangers. Sacks used the example of friends telling and receiving news as an emotive topic. He noted that we sometimes have less news to give to someone who we haven't spoken to for six months than to someone we see everyday, but surely this should be the other way round? 
 
The questions Sacks asks are as stated: 'how in the world would it  be that you could have something to talk about everyday with somebody, and not have something to talk about when you talk to them every six months? Why is it that you don't have six months of news? You could figure that the less you talk with somebody, say a friend who lives in another city, the more you would have to say!' 
 
Sacks answers this puzzle with the idea that what counts as news depends on its immediacy. An item that may happily be reported to a friend the day after it happened, no longer appears to be noteworthy after six months. If something is not mentioned soon after it happened, then it can 'amount to nothing.'
so the items of news that you can tell someone after six months are only things that are worthy of attention over such a long period and if you don't  have them, you have nothing to talk about. In short, to be able to manage conversation after a long break as though it were a daily event is a special skill which is worthy of a remark. Something that conversation analysis can reveal about the power of interaction. 
As you can appreciate the breadth and vigour of Sacks' research, it is among the most influential of works in linguistics and continues to be an area of interest to this day. 

References
 
[1] Baker, C.D., Emmison, M. and Firth, A., (2005) Calling for Help: Language and Social Interaction in Telephone Helplines. Amsterdam: J. Benjamins Pub.