‘Hope it’s useful’: Negotiating first and second order accounts in discourse-based interviews
Keywords:Participatory research, first and second order accounts, the role of the interviewer, discourse-based interview, constructionist
Framework: Although participatory approaches highlight the expertise of the participants and assign them responsibilities over the research process, there is less systematic discussion about the participants’ actual involvement in practice especially in the analysis and interpretation of the data. Despite the claims of equal partnership, the participant is often still perceived as the subject revealing hidden yet simple inside knowledge (first order account) around which the researcher, as a neutral outsider, builds complex theories by drawing on his/her scientific expertise (second order account). Goal and method: Our goal is to investigate how first and second order accounts contribute to a multi-layered analysis of the interview encounter by challenging binary thinking. We also explore the way interactional sociolinguistic methodology can inform participatory research by analyzing the way first and second order accounts are negotiated between interviewer and participant. We present the analysis of a discourse-based interview extract from our ongoing and completed work on the discourse analysis of formality in workplace emails in multinational companies in Greece. Findings: The results illustrate iterative processes of negotiation of meaning in situ and in line with the participants’ temporary and social roles. They highlight the importance of collaborative framing of the interpretation of and theorization from data in which the participants are co-creators. Shifting from static and purely essentialistic or constructivist understandings of the interviewer and participant to a holistic approach, this paper frames the interview encounter as an interactional domain of activity that can better capture the complexity of the lived experience.
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