Postmodern Interviewing

There are several strains of postmodern interviewing, but all are concerned with the role played by the interviewer in co-constructing the meaning of experiences the interviewee shares.

This concern leads to new ways to conduct interviews that minimize the interviewer's influence.  These method include:

  • Recording a number of respondents' voices with minimal input from the interviewer and analyzing the commonalities and differences portrayed via these recordings (polyphonic interviewing)
  • Focusing on learning about and analyzing moments in people's lives that they describe as meaningful and important with the aim of understanding these transformational experiences (interpretive interactionism)
  • Accounting for the social, cultural, historical and economic features that may influence the experiences reported by a respondent during an interview (critical interviewing)

For more of this topic, see Fontana, A. & Frey, JH. (1994) "Interviewing: The Art of Science." In NK Denzin and YS Lincoln (Eds.). Handbook of Qualitative Research (pp. 361-976). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.