Some Answers About Questions in Clinical Interviews Richard M. Frankel
Perhaps the single most important tool available to clinicians and social science researchers is the interview. Although interviewing methods and practice have been a central concern for scholars from such diverse fields as medicine, anthropology, psychology, sociology, and history for more than 50 years, it is only recently that interviews per se have been studied as a type of social occasion governed by discourse rules (Mishler, 1984; Stoeckle & Billings, 1987; Waitzkin, 1990, Maynard, Schaeffer, & Craddock, 1993). This chapter has three goals. The first is to provide a brief history of the interview while developing a focus on the distinctive features of clinical interviews. The second is to examine the role of interaction structure and social context in understanding how clinical interviews work. The third is to offer some case studies that illustrate the practical benefits and limitations of current theoretical approaches to the clinical interview.