Objections in Research Interviewing

Lene Tanggaard

Abstract


In this article the author argues that research interviewing can be a form of research practice in which the subjects of study can object to the researcher’s questions and the interview’s theme. Researchers performing qualitative interviews should pay particular attention to situations where interviewees object to what we think, say, and write about them. The author draws on empirical examples where the objections and hesitations voiced by the interviewees toward the interviewer’s questions became part of reconsidering the initial theoretical concepts guiding the research process. She argues that the interviewer should not provoke such situations but, rather, be sensitive enough to remain open to the possibility that the interviewee might feel a need to object to or refuse the researcher’s interpretations. When this happens, it can allow for a fruitful exploration of the theme of conversation and the researcher’s agenda.

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