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Self-disclosure during interviewing

Sunday, December 30th, 2007 @ 12:25 pm
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Posted in  Data Collection, Heuristics, Methodology, Quotes

Something i have been wrestling with in relation to what happens when am interviewing my research participants has been the fact that often the interviewee cannot access easily the tacit or probably unconscious insights in relation to the experience that is exlored and we are often both left frustrated by ‘not having the words’ for something that is otherwise intuitivelly felt. when discussing with Colin the other day, he confirmed that this is very common, to his experience also, when researching cultural identity etc, it is something so deeply rooted within, with so many layers that is is not easily accessed.

During some interviews, i realised that if i disclose some of my own personal experiences and insights around what am asking, then the interviewee may identify some of that within and unfold their own story. I have been in conflict with that cause this didnt sit very comfortably with my person-centred, non-directive training. On the other hand, i shall not be forgetting that in the conduct of research i have more ‘freedom’ and my Heuristic methodology also allows me for such disclosures. Here is a quote from Moustakas (1990, p.17) that is in support of that realisation:

“at the heart of Heuristics lies an emphasis on disclosing the self as a way of facilitating disclosure in others – a response to the tacit dimension within oneself sparks a similar call from others”

At the stage of heuristic explication, he also says:

“…the heuristic researcher utilises focusing, indwelling, self-searching and self-disclosure, and recognises that meanings are unique and distinctive to an experience and depend upon internal frames of reference” (p.31) and through that the researcher begins to explicate a more “comprehensive depiction of the essences of the experience” (before going into the creative synthesis)

It seems that this can facilitate the unfolding of Narratives of experience, both the personal and the co’researchers’ ones. I trust that i have the sensitivity and skills to do that in a tentative way…relax and trust the process!

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