Destination(s) of knowledge in the research interview : imbalance in offers of meaning and their take-up
Langage et société n° 123 – March 2008
The research interview is known to be a co-construction of meaning between an interviewer and an interviewee. The article seeks to understand the conditions in which this co-construction functions as a dual process of discovery : for the interviewee brought to explore their experiences, and for the researcher who is seeking to understand a social fact. The comparison of two excerpts of interaction highlights those conditions which help or hinder this process of discovery. On the researcher’s side, these are responses which throw light on the interviewee’s experiences at various levels, the ability to avoid subordinating the conduct of the interview to preconceptions inherent in the research, the quality of responses which preserve the interviewee’s defensive system. On the interviewee’s side, they are a desire to explore life experiences, responsive understanding of the researcher’s needs, dialogic integration of offers of meaning from the researcher and their use as an exploratory tool. All the foregoing elements weigh on the working partnership and are perceptible in the language used (argumentative shifts in discourse, dialogism, metadiscursivity, etc.). Incidentally, the article also highlights the peculiarity of the research interview’s exploratory dynamic, within a psychosociological perspective.
Key words: research interview, psychosociology, exploration, interpretation, research methodology, defensive system, knowledge, dialogic, working partnership
Retour sur le