chapter  2
12 Pages

Talking about Experience

Each data-collection strategy used in qualitative research requires dif-ferent information from study participants. When data are obtained using interviews, regardless of whether the interview is with an individual or a group, the primary task of the interviewer is to engage each participant in a particular type of conversation, one in which he or she describes experiences relevant to the research question (Kvale, 1996). Thus, the ensuing exchange is different from a conversation that may take place between two friends. The research interview takes place for a specific purpose developed by the researcher. Although the degree of control exerted over the interview by the researcher can vary, the research interview is one that may be differentiated from other kinds of conversations by the control the interviewer exerts over the exchange process. Despite this power gradient, however, both the interviewer and the study participant influence the quality of the information obtained.