Examining how response tokens function in a qualitative research interview

Christensen, Steven A. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0977-3574 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.

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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.

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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.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Sciences - Department of Psychology (Up to 30 Jun 2013)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Sciences - Department of Psychology (Up to 30 Jun 2013)
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 (2008): 17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences > 1701 Psychology > 170110 Psychological Methodology, Design and Analysis
Fields of Research (2020): 52 PSYCHOLOGY > 5201 Applied and developmental psychology > 520105 Psychological methodology, design and analysis
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970117 Expanding Knowledge in Psychology and Cognitive Sciences
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/8630

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