Thursday, 19 November 2009

Kvale on analysis of interviews

Six steps to analysis:
  1. Subjects describe how they work with and relate to each other.
  2. Subjects discover new relationships, new meanings – yes I noticed this in my first case studies
  3. Interviewer condenses and interprets meaning back – do I do that? Sometimes. If I had more time, I’d ask more. Sometimes I interrupt too much – lose what the subject was going to say. Sometimes I note something they’ve said then come back to it when they’ve finished talking. That follow-up may elucidate but may lead into another area.
  4. The transcribed interview is interpreted by the interviewer. It’s structured through transcription. I use a computer program (Nvivo) for contextual analysis. Kvale says there are five main approaches to the analysis of meaning: condensation, categorization, narrative structuring, interpretation and ad hoc methods. Which should I use?
  5. Kvale suggests as a 5th step a re-interview but I doubt I have time for this, nor do my participants. The other thing that worries me about re-interviews stems from my experience on the MRes when the Friday before the Monday I was due to submit, I received a letter from a participant asking me not to use anything that participants had said. I’d sent out the full unedited transcript with a query on a financial fact, like “was it £50k or £150K?” Participant took fright, I think. I had to check the whole 15,000 words over the weekend, editing out anything and everything that could possibly be attributed to that participant. So now I’m a bit leery about giving transcripts back to subjects to comment.
  6. Kvale suggests possibly extending the continuum of descriptions and interpretation to include action, by subjects beginning to act on new insights they have gained during the interview. I doubt that’s immediately possible but perhaps the reports I feedback to my helpful participants organisations will provide insights for them to act upon, though I did have the impression that some participants found the interviews caused them to reflect on their work.

Kvale, S. (1996). InterViews : an introduction to qualitative research interviewing. Thousand Oaks, CA ; London, Sage. Chapter 11 of {Kvale, 1996 #1198}

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