The sensitive interview: Methodological reflections on dealing with "sensitive" subjects during interviews

Forskningsoutput: KonferensbidragSammanfattning

Sammanfattning

This presentation deals with the notion of "the sensitive interview". Many subjects in the field of criminology may be considered "sensitive"; they involve actions (one’s own or others) that may be deemed unlawful or immoral. In this presentation it is argued that the presumed sensitivity of a given subject must be considered potential rather than given beforehand. It is not an intrinsic, essential part of a given subject. Rather, it should be viewed as a result of the interaction which occurs during an interview. It is through the very act of treating a potentially sensitive subject in a cautious way that the subject is made sensitive. Viewed in this sense, the delicate or sensitive nature of a subject is in fact constituted as such during the interview and not by the subject matter. In this presentation, the notion of the sensitive interview is discussed and analyzed from an interactional perspective and by using concrete research examples. Traditional advice on how to deal with sensitive subjects during interviews is discussed. Normally, the interviewer is supposed to treat the presumed sensitive subject with great caution and care during an interview. The interviewer is supposed to start with less threatening questions, be sympathetic and accepting during the interview, not "pushing" the interviewed person into talking about issues that he or she wants to avoid, and so on. Although advice like the above naturally may be valid in some cases, if one follows them without discrimination they can also mean not getting the most from an interview. In fact, by treating a subject as sensitive the interviewer may end up with an impoverished and less interesting material. By avoiding treating a given subject as sensitive beforehand, it may be possible to obtain a less trivial and more rewarding interview material.

OriginalspråkEngelska
StatusPublicerad - 2012
EvenemangESA Qualitative Methods Midterm Conference, "Curiosity and Serendipity", 20-21 September, 2012, Lund. -
Varaktighet: 1980-jan.-01 → …

Konferens

KonferensESA Qualitative Methods Midterm Conference, "Curiosity and Serendipity", 20-21 September, 2012, Lund.
Period80-01-01 → …

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  • Sociologi (504)

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