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Researcher and Therapist: The Conversations of the Qualitative Interview
Unformatted Document Text:  3 Conversation The Qualitative Interview Weiss (1994) defined the qualitative interview as “one that sacrifices uniformity in order to gain a fuller, richer understanding of a respondent’s experience” (p. 3). According to Weiss, the qualitative interview allows the interviewer to develop detailed or holistic descriptions of a phenomenon, to integrate multiple perspectives into a research study, and to produce documentation that is able to transport the reader of the text into the actual event. Seidman (1991) considered the qualitative interview to be a representation of one’s interest in other people—a method of understanding their experiences and hearing their stories. The style of qualitative interviews is relatively informal. The interview assumes the appearance of a conversation; the questions posed during this process are open-ended and they explore the broader themes of a topic through a process of discussion and discovery. Weiss (1994) offered alternative terminology that may be employed when describing the qualitative interview. He identified intensive interviewing, depth interviewing, and nondirective research interviewing as appropriate characterizations of this approach. According to Weiss (p. 207), these conceptualizations provide additional insight into the process of qualitative inquiry. He suggested that intensive interviewing “emphasizes the concern for detail and completeness in accounts . . . while depth interviewing suggests an effort to obtain the psychological underpinnings of beliefs or opinions” (p. 207). Weiss described the nondirective research interview characterization as reflecting “a focus on the non-judgmental and receptive stance of the interviewer and the interviewer’s willingness, like that of a nondirective therapist, simply to listen” (p. 207).

Authors: Kelly, Nancy.
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3
Conversation
The Qualitative Interview
Weiss (1994) defined the qualitative interview as “one that sacrifices uniformity in order
to gain a fuller, richer understanding of a respondent’s experience” (p. 3). According to Weiss,
the qualitative interview allows the interviewer to develop detailed or holistic descriptions of a
phenomenon, to integrate multiple perspectives into a research study, and to produce
documentation that is able to transport the reader of the text into the actual event. Seidman
(1991) considered the qualitative interview to be a representation of one’s interest in other
people—a method of understanding their experiences and hearing their stories. The style of
qualitative interviews is relatively informal. The interview assumes the appearance of a
conversation; the questions posed during this process are open-ended and they explore the
broader themes of a topic through a process of discussion and discovery.
Weiss (1994) offered alternative terminology that may be employed when describing the
qualitative interview. He identified intensive interviewing, depth interviewing, and nondirective
research interviewing as appropriate characterizations of this approach. According to Weiss (p.
207), these conceptualizations provide additional insight into the process of qualitative inquiry.
He suggested that intensive interviewing “emphasizes the concern for detail and completeness in
accounts . . . while depth interviewing suggests an effort to obtain the psychological
underpinnings of beliefs or opinions” (p. 207). Weiss described the nondirective research
interview characterization as reflecting “a focus on the non-judgmental and receptive stance of
the interviewer and the interviewer’s willingness, like that of a nondirective therapist, simply to
listen” (p. 207).


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