Examining how 'So' functions in a qualitative research interview

Christensen, Steven A. and Brooks, C. (2010) Examining how 'So' functions in a qualitative research interview. In: 27th International Congress of Applied Psychology, 11-16 July 2010, Melbourne, Australia.

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Abstract

The general aim of this study was to describe some of the discursive practices for managing qualitative research interviews. The specific aim was to examine the form, function, and location of so-prefaced utterances in a qualitative research interview. A conversation analysis (cf., Sacks, 1992) of 266 lines of transcribed talk from New Zealand Interview 2 (van den Berg, Wetherell, & Houtkoop-Steenstra, 2003) on race relations in New Zealand during the 1980s was completed. First, so-prefaced turn construction units were identified in the transcript. Second, talk immediately before, during, and after each so-prefaced turn construction unit was examined to see whether it: (a) was located during an on-going action or upon completion of an action; (b) marked inferential connections in the talk or launched a new course of action; and (c) was part of an upshot, gist, stand-alone “So”, turn-change, or topic-change device. Three actions were observed, the first of which involved the interviewer using “So” to launch a new question after an answer had been received, receipted, and allowed to stand as complete. Next the interviewer used “So” to reformulate this question to be about the ‘qualities’ of New Zealand role models and to relaunch it during the respondent’s on-going but meandering answer. Finally, the respondent used “So” to reject the etic formulation of the qualities of Sir Edmund Hillary and to replace it with an alternative. However, concurrent with this reformulation, the respondent accepted as unproblematic the emic formulation of the relaunched question. “So” is an undervalued speakers’ resource. It helps organise and design turns, manage question-answer sequences, and so shapes the overall structure of a qualitative research interview. Interviewers and respondents use “So” to set and maintain a joint understanding of actions produced in a qualitative research interview. This finding displays how interviews are socially constructed and culturally informed events.


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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Poster)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Poster presentation - only abstracts published in conference proceedings, as supplied here.
Depositing User: Mrs Melissa Jarick
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Sciences - Department of Psychology
Date Deposited: 26 Aug 2010 05:13
Last Modified: 27 Jun 2011 03:49
Uncontrolled Keywords: research interviews, discursive practices, conversation analysis, managing qualitative research interviews, so- prefaced utterances
Fields of Research (FOR2008): 17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences > 1701 Psychology > 170110 Psychological Methodology, Design and Analysis
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO2008): E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970117 Expanding Knowledge in Psychology and Cognitive Sciences
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/8628

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