This paper distinguishes a series of contingent and necessary problems that arise in the design, conduct, analysis and reporting of open-ended or conversational qualitative interviews in psychological research. Contingent problems in the reporting of interviews include: (1) the deletion of the interviewer; (2) the conventions of representation of interaction; (3) the specificity of analytic observations; (4) the unavailability of the interview set-up; (5) the failure to consider interviews as interaction. Necessary problems include: (1) the flooding of the interview with social science agendas and categories; (2) the complex and varying footing positions of interviewer and interviewee; (3) the orientations to stake and interest on the part of the interviewer and interviewee; (4) the reproduction of cognitivism. The paper ends with two kinds of recommendation. First, we argue that interviews should be studied as an interactional object, and that study should feed back into the design, conduct and analysis of interviews so that they can be used more effectively in cases where they are the most appropriate data gathering tools. Second, these problems with open-ended interviews highlight a range of specific virtues of basing analysis on naturalistic materials. Reasons for moving away from the use of interviews for many research questions are described.
Please cite the published version.This item was submitted to Loughborough's Institutional Repository (https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/) by the author and is made available under the following Creative Commons Licence conditions.For the full text of this licence, please go to: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.5/ Representing Reality, which attempted to provide a systematic overview, integration and contingencies as a resource of the speaker rather than of the recipient. In a sense the entitlement claimed is 'to tell' rather than 'to ask'. In sequences involving multiple / repeated directives, non-compliance led to upgraded (more entitled and less contingent) directives. The difference in the entitlement claimed, the response options available and the trajectory of multiple requests/directives suggests participants orient to requests and directives as different actions, rather than more or less forceful formulations of the same.
Everyday explanations of human actions have been studied as event perception, with language part of method, used by experimenters for describing events and obtaining causal judgments from Ss. Recently, language has acquired theoretical importance as the medium of causal thinking. Two developments are the linguistic category model of Au (1986), Brown andFish (1983), andSemin (1988) and the conversational model of Turnbull and Slugoski (1988) and Hilton (1990). Three areas of weaknesses are identified: the relation between linguistic and psychological analysis, the nature of ordinary discourse, and the action orientation of event descriptions. A Discursive Action Model is proposed for investigating everyday causal attribution. Although a cognitive psychology of discursive attribution is considered feasible, this must follow a reconceptualization of language as social action.
A set of accounts concerning final year university students' views on the status of employment opportunities for women is examined to identify some of the practical ideologies surrounding the reproduction of gender inequalities. The focus of the analysis is the structure of the discourse produced and what is revealed about wider systems of making sense. This approach is contrasted with conventional survey research. We argue, first, that our sample's responses represent a conflict between their endorsement of equal opportunities and their emphasis on the practical considerations supposedly limiting those opportunities and, second, that their model of the human subject in society is individualistic in nature as are their notions of social change and explanations for existing inequalities.
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