Examining how response tokens function in a qualitative research interview

Christensen, Steven A. and Greenway-Shorten, C. (2010) Examining how response tokens function in a qualitative research interview. In: 27th International Congress of Applied Psychology, 11-16 July 2010, Melbourne, Australia.

[img] PDF (Published Version - Abstract)
Christensen_Greenway-Shorten_ICAP2010_PV.pdf

Download (2388Kb)
Official URL: http://www.icap2010.com

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 response tokens 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, response tokens were identified in the transcript using Gardner’s taxonomy (Gardner, 2001). Second, the frequency was calculated for different classes of response tokens. Third, how the interviewer and the interviewee used response tokens to maintain or change speakership, maintain or change topic, and formulate answers were examined. Response tokens are a pervasive feature in qualitative research interviews accounting for 11.47% of all words spoken. The interviewer produced 60.7% and the respondent produced 39.3% of these. Continuers (e.g., Mm mhm), news-markers (e.g., Right), and acknowledgement tokens signalling hesitancy (e.g., Uhm), delicateness (e.g. Mm) and certainty (e.g., Yes) were oriented to points of grammatical completion in the talk and located at transition relevant places. Their function was therefore consistent with Gardner’s taxonomy. Response tokens were oriented to speakership enabling a speaker to hold the floor but allowing a recipient to signal continuing listenership or project an upcoming speaker’s bid. Response tokens shape the trajectory of a qualitative research interview by being oriented to the immediately prior turn. Response tokens manage multi-turn answers by marking mutual understanding as an ongoing accomplishment and by dealing with insertion sequences that divert talk away from the research question. Thus, they shape the overall structure of a qualitative research interview by helping to organise and design turns and speakership. These findings display how interviews are socially constructed and culturally informed events.


Statistics for USQ ePrint 8630
Statistics for this ePrint Item
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 05:17
Last Modified: 27 Jun 2011 04:08
Uncontrolled Keywords: response tokens, research interviews, discursive practices, 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/8630

Actions (login required)

View Item Archive Repository Staff Only