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Researcher and Therapist: The Conversations of the Qualitative Interview
Unformatted Document Text:  23 Conversation manner. When presented with self-disclosure by the interviewer, the participants would most often only mirror the interviewer’s statements rather than undertake their own exploration of a personalized image through extended dialog. The text of these interviews suggests that many therapeutic strategies support the individual expression of identity while allowing for the collaborative nature of the interview event. In this way, they encourage a fuller and more synergistic representation of identity and offer recognition for the multiple voices represented in the text. Since qualitative research does not rely upon preconceived or narrowly defined measures, it embraces the unexpected outcomes that may emerge from the exploratory nature of the task. Tannen (1990) believed that the conversational tone of qualitative methodologies provides a transparent, rather than an opaque, mechanism for conducting research, one that encourages a clarity of voices and celebrates the uniqueness of individual experience. I found that the transparency of these methodologies encouraged me to follow rather than to lead the text and to receive rather than to impose isolated interpretations upon the dialog. The interpretations presented in this paper emerged from a process of interaction with the voices of participants who shared their understandings of identity through the conversations of the interviews. My analysis of the interviews suggests that co-creation is not necessarily a fixed or consistent element of the interview process, but a possibility that materializes from the personal style of the interviewer and the manner in which questions encourage or prevent extended dialog. In the interviews analyzed for this paper, the richness of the data was mediated by the ebb and flow of the interviewer’s involvement in the dialog. When the interviewer enacted the strategies embedded in the discourse of therapy—such as empathy, and reflective listening —the conversations of the interviews assumed a more expansive nature that not only extended the

Authors: Kelly, Nancy.
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23
Conversation
manner. When presented with self-disclosure by the interviewer, the participants would most
often only mirror the interviewer’s statements rather than undertake their own exploration of a
personalized image through extended dialog.
The text of these interviews suggests that many therapeutic strategies support the
individual expression of identity while allowing for the collaborative nature of the interview
event. In this way, they encourage a fuller and more synergistic representation of identity and
offer recognition for the multiple voices represented in the text. Since qualitative research does
not rely upon preconceived or narrowly defined measures, it embraces the unexpected outcomes
that may emerge from the exploratory nature of the task. Tannen (1990) believed that the
conversational tone of qualitative methodologies provides a transparent, rather than an opaque,
mechanism for conducting research, one that encourages a clarity of voices and celebrates the
uniqueness of individual experience. I found that the transparency of these methodologies
encouraged me to follow rather than to lead the text and to receive rather than to impose isolated
interpretations upon the dialog. The interpretations presented in this paper emerged from a
process of interaction with the voices of participants who shared their understandings of identity
through the conversations of the interviews.
My analysis of the interviews suggests that co-creation is not necessarily a fixed or
consistent element of the interview process, but a possibility that materializes from the personal
style of the interviewer and the manner in which questions encourage or prevent extended dialog.
In the interviews analyzed for this paper, the richness of the data was mediated by the ebb and
flow of the interviewer’s involvement in the dialog. When the interviewer enacted the strategies
embedded in the discourse of therapy—such as empathy, and reflective listening —the
conversations of the interviews assumed a more expansive nature that not only extended the


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