Interview research

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


When researchers want to understand how people make meaning of their life experiences, they often go straight to the source and ask questions. Considered broadly, interview research includes a wide range of question and response strategies. This variety in strategies crosses multiple domains: Variation in purpose (e.g., asking to better understand a range of responses or asking to gain a deep and complex understanding of a difficult-to-define concept), variation in organizing respondent opportunities (e.g., individual and group), variation in tools for data collection, variation in analytic perspectives, and variation in representation forms. Like Roulston (2010), I believe that variety in form and function reflects theoretical orientations that align with researchers’ various ontological and epistemological stances. Qualitative touchstones, then, must be flexible and indicate alignment among form, function, and orientation. In this chapter, I consider methodological touchstones that serve as quality indicators for publishing research based on interviews that are not author-identified as narrative, life history, or other methodologies. The following selected key terms are included to help distinguish components among the variety of interview research approaches.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationReviewing Qualitative Research in the Social Sciences
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781136699245
ISBN (Print)9780415893473
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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