Research Methods (1) Interviews

13. Ethical issues in research interviews (b) Researchers as participants in the research process.

  • The interview is a dynamic and interactive process is which meaning is created by both researchers and research participants.
  • Researchers are active participants in the qualitative research, who shape data gathered in interviews through the frameworks they use to set the parameters of discussion and interpretation of what is discussed.
  • To conduct interviews in a way that is consistent with an ethics of reflexivity and empowerment researchers must ‘learn to listen’ by attending “more to the narrator than to our own agendas” (Anderson and Jack in Gluck and Patai (eds), 1991, p. 12). This includes learning to be attentive to the language, emotions, vocal quality, body language, contradictions, hesitations and silences in interviews.
  • Developing ways to listen from the vantage point of participants can be an important way to guard against reverting to pre-conceived assumptions about the meaning of what participants say. This can include strategies, such as listening to the logic of a narrative, listening to the underlying moral language of a participant, and listening to the ‘meta-statements’ or moments where participants reflect on their own words (Anderson and Jack in Gluck and Patai (eds), 1991, p. 19).