What is interviewing and when is this method useful? What does it mean to select rather than sample interviewees? Once the researcher has found people to interview, how does she build a working relationship with her interviewees? What should the dynamics of talking and listening in interviews be? How do researchers begin to analyze the narrative data generated through interviews?
Lee Ann Fujii explores the answers to these inquiries in Interviewing in Social Science Research, the latest entry in the Routledge Series on Interpretive Methods. This short, highly readable book explores an interpretive approach to interviewing for purposes of social science research. Using an interpretive methodology, the book examines interviewing as a relational enterprise. As a relational undertaking, interviewing is more akin to a two-way dialogue than a one-way interrogation. Fujii examines the methodological foundations for a relational approach to interviewing, while at the same time covering many of the practical nuts and bolts of relational interviewing. Examples come from the author’s experiences conducting interviews in Bosnia, Rwanda, and the United States, and from relevant literatures across a variety of social scientific disciplines. Appendices to the book contain specific tips and suggestions for relational interviewing in addition to interview excerpts that give readers a sense of how relational interviews unfold.
This book will be of great value to graduate students and researchers from across the social sciences who are considering or planning to use interviews in their research, and can be easily used by academics for teaching courses or workshops in social science methods.
Praise for Interviewing in Social Science Research
This is a little gem of a book about the process of interviewing. Lee Ann Fujii skillfully weaves together a critically reflexive relational philosophy with helpful examples and good practical advice.
Rosalind Edwards, University of Southampton, UK
In this important text, Lee Ann Fujii shows how qualitative researchers gather high-quality data through field research. In this inherently social and relational process, she shows how the researcher and subject together produce narratives and other kinds of data, and argues for why analysis should focus on the data’s underlying logic rather than merely the reconstruction of facts. These themes are rarely given such clarity and emphasis—Fujii’s is a very wise text.
Elisabeth Jean Wood, Yale University, USA
In Interviewing in Social Science Research, Lee Ann Fujii promotes a logic and rationale for relational interviewing, explicitly accounting for the duality in power dynamics and discourse between interviewer and subject. In the course of an interview, each party continuously attempts to make sense of the other and to feel secure in their midst. Consequently, Fujii argues that an interviewer’s ability to properly analyze the "data" rests in their reflections on the mutual agentic acts unfolding during the conversation: moments of silence, reverse questioning, abrupt refusals to talk about issues that are then talked about, and other such behaviors. This important book gets to the heart of the messiness and the revelation of the research-interviewing endeavor, to uncover how people make meaning in the social world.
Alford A. Young, Jr., University of Michigan, USA
A fascinating and thought-provoking read, Lee Ann Fujii's new book has particular value in making reflexive ethics integral to the relational approach. Fujii offers a practical guide to interviewing, combining accounts of real-life (but rarely shared) challenges from a range of studies from across the world, with advice about how to manage complex issues, including selecting participants and addressing positionality. A great resource for students and more experienced researchers.
Janet Boddy, University of Sussex, UK
1. What is Relational Interviewing? 2. Building Working Relationships. 3. Selecting, Finding, and Approaching Interviewees. 4. Strategies for Conducting Interviews. 5. I Have My Data—Now What? 6. The Ethos of Relational Interviewing. Appendix Interview Excerpts.
Praise for the Series
"All of the books in the series are a credit to the series editors -- it's really quite a remarkable body of work being built up, with a coherence and relevance and quality of scholarship rarely found so consistently across a series of this sort. I can't talk it up enough. Congratulations."
Nick Cheesman, Australian National University
The Routledge Series on Interpretive Methods comprises a collection of slim volumes, each devoted to different issues in interpretive methodology and its associated methods. The topics covered establish the methodological grounding for interpretive approaches in ways that distinguish interpretive methods from quantitative and qualitative methods in the positivist tradition. The series as a whole engages three types of concerns: 1) methodological issues, looking at key concepts and processes; 2) approaches and methods, looking at how interpretive methodologies are manifested in different forms of research; and 3) disciplinary and subfield areas, demonstrating how interpretive methods figure in different fields across the social sciences.
International Advisory Board
Mark Bevir, University of California, Berkeley
Pamela Brandwein, University of Michigan
Kevin Bruyneel, Babson College
Katherine Cramer, University of Wisconsin, Madison
Douglas C. Dow, University of Texas, Dallas
Vincent Dubois, University of Strasbourg
Raymond Duvall, University of Minnesota
Martha S. Feldman, University of California, Irvine
Lene Hansen, University of Copenhagen
Victoria Hattam, The New School
Emily Hauptmann, Western Michigan University
Markus Haverland, Erasmus University, Rotterdam
David Howarth, University of Essex
Patrick Thaddeus Jackson, American University
Timothy Kaufman-Osborn, Whitman College
Bernhard Kittel, University of Vienna
Jan Kubik, Rutgers University
Beate Littig, Institute for Advanced Studies, Vienna
Joseph Lowndes, University of Oregon
Timothy W. Luke, Virginia Tech
Cecelia Lynch, University of California, Irvine
Navdeep Mathur, India Institute of Management
Julie Novkov, State University of New York at Albany
Ido Oren, University of Florida
Ellen Pader, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Frederic C. Schaffer, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Edward Schatz, University of Toronto
Ronald Schmidt, Sr., California State University, Long Beach (emeritus) and Davidson College
James C. Scott, Yale University
Samer Shehata, University of Oklahoma
Diane Singerman, American University
Joe Soss, University of Minnesota
Camilla Stivers, Cleveland State University (emerita)
John Van Maanen, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Lisa Wedeen, University of Chicago
Jutta Weldes, Bristol University