Examining how questions function in a qualitative research interview

Christensen, Steven A. and Fiechtner, A. (2010) Examining how questions function 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 questions 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, question-like utterances were identified in the transcript. Second, morphosyntactic clauses were categorised using Quirk, Greenbaum, Leech, & Svartik’s (1985) taxonomy. Third, the talk immediately before, during, and after each question turn was examined to see whether it was: (a) located on completion of a previous action; (b) marked by lexical elements and/or prosody; (c) repaired or abandoned; and (d) elicited a type-conforming response from the recipient. There was no direct association between the syntactic form and function so questions could be produced from declarative, interrogative, and imperative clauses in qualitative research interviews. There was no unambiguous intonation contour that marked questions, and participants used sequential, semantic, and interactional features (e.g., repairs) in the talk to recognise a question, and produce a relevant response in the qualitative research interview. Morphosyntactic form, intonation, and sequential position are inseparable in questions produced in a qualitative research interview. Recipients use these resources to recognise utterances as questions. Interviewer-interviewee interactions in the answer sequence shape intelligible answers so that are relevant to the question. Thus answers are responses co-produced by the interviewer and interviewee. These findings display 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 05:16
Last Modified: 27 Jun 2011 04:06
Uncontrolled Keywords: research interviews, discursive practices, questions, managing qualitative research interviews, conversation analysis
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/8629

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