From Philosophy to Practice
Chapter 6. Conducting Interviews in Hermeneutic Research
The Conversational Nature of Interviews
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CONDUCTING INTERVIEWS IN HERMENEUTIC RESEARCH
Data in hermeneutic studies are often (though not exclusively) gathered through interviews and cultivated in interpretive analysis. In this chapter, we discuss the conduct, complexity, and nuances of interviewing. Despite claims made by some that there is such a thing as a “hermeneutic interview” (Geanellos, 1999; Vandermause, 2011), we maintain that there is not a distinctively unique entity called a hermeneutic interview. Alternately, we claim that there are good interviews that generate good data, interviews that are conducted thoughtfully, openly, and deliberately to create space for understanding of the topic under inquiry. Conducting interviews in hermeneutic research is a skillful and practiced art, what Kvale and Brinkmann (2009) termed a “craft” that involves “intellectual craftsmanship.” By this, they described craftsmanship as a “mastery of a form of production, which requires practical skills and personal insight acquired through training and extensive practice” (p. 86).
Interviews take on particular significance for hermeneutic research, based on the importance of language and conversation in the philosophical background. Heidegger regarded language as a house of being, a house that is big enough to hold many worlds, not just a house that includes some and excludes others. In this regard, we see data for human research as arising from a gathering and harvesting of experience. Heidegger (1975) further suggested that ← 87 | 88 → language or legein is connected to the German word legen, which means to lay down and lay before:...
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