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Kvale on Interviewing

Saturday, May 12th, 2007 @ 10:10 am
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Posted in  Methodology

A fellow researcher, S., has shared her thoughts around analysing qualitative interviews, drawn from reading Kvale’s book. She wrote on 6.5.07:

 “I will need to read this several times but the thing that has surprised me most is his explanation of interpretation (p.180). He says’There exists a contimuum between description and interpretation, and below six possible phases-which do not necessarily presuppose each other logically or chronolgically’. he the goes on to describe the six phases which seem to me not linear or cyclical but that an interpretation may have a close fit with one of these definitions and may mutate even further. What I think he is getting at is the origin or drive behind the response being interpreted.

phase 1
the subject describes his life world spontaneously about the theme, with no influence from the researcher.
phase 2
the subject discovers new meanings and connections without any direct influence from the resercher.
phase 3
the researcher condenses and interprets the meaning being described by the participant and may feed it back. The participant then has a chance to confirm/deny the accuracy of the original interpretation
phase 4
the completed and transcribed interview is interpreted by the researcher alone (3 levels)
a) self understanding
this level of meaning is limited to the self understanding of the interviewee ( i wonder if this should be interviewer)
b) common sense
This level goes beyond what the participant experiences and means about a theme and draws on broader contexts. The interpretation of the meaning of what is being said is enriched.
c)theory
The researcher may draw on more theoretical interpretations
phase 5
re-interview. when the original interpretation is complete the final analysis is given to the participants. The reinterview may change the researcher’s interpretations. (This is something I shall do)
phase 6
The contimuum of description and interpretation is extended to involve action. (I also hope to use this)
The above concepts have got me thinking about the analysis of the interviews, At this stage I am mainly interested in how the participants’ responses link to the original questions. But I think there is scope on Kvale’s thinking in relation to validity. For example a transcript heavily weighted with 4a would not be terribly credible. The thing is I haven’t seen any research studies including an explanation of the above phases which I think would generate questions about the manner in which the interview is conducted, and not just how it is analysed”
Then our supervisor, W.W, responded by a comment that i think I shall keep reminding myself, if it is to stay connected to post-modern thinking. He wrote:
“He (Kvale) was one of the first I read who argued you don’t have to ask everyone the same questions you don’t have to pretent that your underatanding of the phenomena you are researching remains static ie that you can take your learnings forward from one interview to the next”.
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