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Roles, relationships and identity in qualitative interviews Steve Mann (University of Warwick) February 2011 Roles, relationships and identity in qualitative.

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Presentation on theme: "Roles, relationships and identity in qualitative interviews Steve Mann (University of Warwick) February 2011 Roles, relationships and identity in qualitative."— Presentation transcript:

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2 Roles, relationships and identity in qualitative interviews Steve Mann (University of Warwick) February 2011 Roles, relationships and identity in qualitative interviews Steve Mann (University of Warwick) February 2011

3 Aims of talk Share views from related disciplines concerning analysis and representation of roles and identity in qualitative interviews Outline four ‘discourse dilemmas’ (Mann 2011) Show how prior relationships are invoked and made relevant by both interviewer and interviewee during educational research interviews and how these prior relationships contribute to the ‘generation’ (Baker, 2004: 163) of data.

4 Growing presence but undertheorised The qualitative interview has a growing presence in applied linguistics. Despite this increase, the qualitative interview has, for the most part, been undertheorized in relation to roles, relationships and identity.

5 Worrying tendencies: Selected voices arranged in journalistic tableau Bereft of context and methodological detail Critical reflective dimension often missing.

6 The ‘active’ interview Holstein and Gubrium’s (1995) contribution to this theorization of the ‘inter-view’ (interviews as unavoidably ‘active’) ‘no matter how formalized, restricted, or standardized’ the nature of the interview, there is ‘interaction between the interview participants’. (Holstein and Gubrium 1995: 18)

7 Discursive psychology Antaki et al. (2003) present the concerns of discursive psychology in reference to the interview. Concern with the linguistic features of positioning, footing, stake management, and identity work.

8 Contingent problems Potter and Hepburn (2005) draw attention to avoidable ‘contingent problems with interviewing:  the deletion of the interviewer  problems with the representation of interaction  the unavailability of the interview set- up  the failure to consider interviews as interaction.

9 Co-construction More research needs to recognize that the interviewer and interviewee jointly construct the interview talk (Sarangi 2003). a ‘growing literature on the importance of treating interviews as interactionally co- constructed events in which participant identity and positioning have significant analytical implications’ Richards (2009: 159).

10 Interactional Context Pavlenko (2007) - too much emphasis on content and little attention to form and contexts of construction, ignoring the ‘interactional influences on the presentation of self’ (2007: 178). Interviewee contributions are always produced in negotiation with the interviewer (Rapley 2001: 317)

11 A greater focus on the interviewer Research studies need to be more open in their accounting of how membership, roles and relationship can affect the way talk develops (e.g. Roulston, 2001; Rapley, 2001, 2004; Garton and Copland 2010).

12 Extract 1 Sueumm I just wanted to pick up start off by picking up one point from last time = Linda= are you supposed to do that pre chat ((joint laughter)) SueI don’t know Lindago on Extract 2 Fiona:um () this is the same question really Ned:is it Fionabut I’m going to ask it anyway because I’m very inexperienced at this ((laughs)) I’m not sure what you’re supposed to do at this point ((joint laughter))

13 Extract 3 Fiona yes if you could change oh sorry ((phone starts ringing)) anything about your feedback style what would you change May well I think you know the answer to that ((laughs)) Fiona okay ((laughs)) May I’m sorry I think that’s my phone and nobody ever rings me I do apologise Fiona no no that’s fine that’s fine I’ll have another cake I like this interview I get cakes cakes and cats. ((May answers phone)) May sorry ((May sits down)) what was the () oh yes what would I change about my erm feedback style erm () well as I said I’d like to be able to be a little bit more circumspect about some issues I think erm

14 Responding to the analytic challenges 1.How can we make relevant the co- construction of interviews in our research papers and chapters? Is ‘contextual detail’ enough? 2.Is there a danger of paying too much attention to the roles and relationships of interviewer and interviewee at the expense of the content of what they say?

15 Reference List Garton, S. and Copland, F ‘I like this interview: I get cakes and cats!’; the effect of prior relationships on interview talk. Qualitative Research Vol. 10 (5),


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