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The Active Interview

The Active Interview

Volume: 37

April 1995 | 96 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

"The book provides an academic basis for discussion and development of active interviewing methods. . . . The ideas raised. . . will be interesting and valuable to those involved in developing new methodologies in qualitative research and interviewing."

--Helen Masey in Social Research Association News

The interpretive turn in social science has taken the interview and turned it upside down. Once thought to be the pipeline through which information was transmitted from a passive subject to an omniscient researcher, the new "active interview" considers the interviewer and interviewee as equal partners in constructing meaning around an interview event. This changes everything - from the way of conceiving a sample to the ways in which the interview may be conducted and the results analyzed. In this brief volume, James A. Holstein and Jaber F. Gubrium outline the differences between the active interview and the traditional interview and give novice researchers clear guidance on conducting an interview that is the rich product of both parties.

Students and professionals who use qualitative methods in the fields of sociology, anthropology, communication, psychology, education, social work, gerontology, and management will find The Active Interview to be a helpful and cogent guidebook.

The Active Interview in Perspective
Assigned Competence and Respondent Selection
Narrative Resources
The Active Interviewer
Constructing Meaning within the Interview
Multivocality and Multiple Respondents
Rethinking Interview Procedures

More than twenty years after publication, Holstein and Gubrium's The Active Interview is still and essential introduction to an approach to a constructionist perspective on interviewing and interview data. The authors argue convincingly and passionately that interviewers shouldn't be afraid to actively engage in the interview situation: Indeed, only an active interviewer can ensure that interviews are good and lively conversations, which is central to interview quality. The booklet is a concise and quick read that should be recommended to any student of qualitative interviewing.

Dr Michael Penkler
Social Science , University of Vienna
August 25, 2016

A classic text, essential for anyone contemplating qualitiative research

Miss Christine Hibbert
Faculty of Health and Wellbeing, Sheffield Hallam University
June 28, 2013

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