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Utrecht Centre for Television in Transition


14 March 2011

Analyzing interviews with documentary participants: the what and the how

There are various ways to approach the analysis of qualitative data, and more specifically interview data. Apart from studying what respondents say, attention may be given to how they say it. I will address two approaches that both start from the perspective that information conveyed in interviews should not only be analyzed for its content: deconstruction and constructionism.

Deconstruction is aimed at exposing the ideology that underlies respondents’ accounts, or rather how ideology limits what respondents can say. However, deconstruction can also be used to explore the ideology of the analyst. Strategies for deconstruction include looking for silences and gaps, dismantling dichotomies, and analyzing disruptions such as unfinished or unclear sentences and hesitations.

Constructionism regards interviews as situated conversations in which both interviewee and interviewer are engaged in a continuous process of meaning-making. In this approach, interview answers are accounts constructed in an encounter between people. Analyzing how respondents answer is part and parcel of analyzing what they answer. Strategies for constructionism include looking at interview accounts as cultural stories and investigating stereotypes, looking at identity work, i.e., how interviewees position themselves towards the topic and towards the interviewer, and narrative reflexivity.

During the seminar Willemien Sanders will give a brief explanation of these approaches, after which a working session will be held to try and apply them to some of her interview data. Willemien interviewed documentary participants about their experience of being in a documentary project.

Date: March 14, 2011
Time: 3.30 p.m.
Location: Kromme Nieuwe Gracht 80, room 1.06 (‘Ravenstein’)

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