Too often interviewing is seen as simply a tool for data collection, while in reality it is a complex, subtle process that cannot be separated from the dynamic of the project or from the multiple and changing contexts of everyday life. In posing the question, “what is research for?”, Interviewing and Representation in Qualitative Research explores the processes of interviewing as itself a project intimately involved in contemporary debates around knowledge, freedom, power, ethics, modernism postmodernism, and globalisation.
What makes the book distinctive is its focus on interviewing not just as a tool to be used within other frameworks such as case study, action research, evaluation and surveys, but as an approach to organise a project as a whole, to provide frameworks for organising perspectives on the multiple ‘worlds’ of everyday life. It is argued that every project, every methodology, every theoretical perspective has its own rhetorical framework that interacts with the ‘world’ as subject of study or focus for intervention. The interview, as defined in this book, is both the process of constituting and de-constructing world views – it is the inter-view, the place between worlds. Without the ‘inter-view’ no dialogue and no alternatives as a basis for difference, change, and development would be possible. The inter-view as conceived in the book is fundamental to qualitative research as an emancipatory project.
Research practice is thus placed in the context of philosophical, theoretical and methodological debates, taking the reader beyond many introductory texts, making it suitable for all students and researchers who wish to advance the frontiers of their research and engage with contemporary social and political realities.
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John Schostak is Research Professor of Education within the Education and Social Research Institute at Manchester Metropolitan University.
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