Qualitative Interview Analysis: The Use of Systemic Functional Linguistics to Reveal Functional Meanings

Keywords: qualitative interview analysis, systemic functional linguistics, foreign language education, functional meanings, new methods and methodologies


Qualitative interviewing is a method in which the interviewer directs the interviewee to answer specific research questions. In this article, I present an example of "Systemic Functional Linguistics" (SFL) analysis of an interview in which I investigated a student's use of an instructional tool called "Schema for the Complete Orienting Bases of Action" (SCOBA). SFL, as a qualitative tool for analysis, provides a functional account of the interview text, revealing semantic meanings through the grammatical and lexical choices of the interviewee. During analysis, SFL revealed different layers of meaning that are mediated by the linguistic choices of the interviewee. SFL helped me to get a fine-grained view of how the interviewee construed her experience as a foreign language learner and how she showed awareness and control of her own language development.


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Author Biography

Loretta Fernandez, University of Pittsburgh

Loretta FERNANDEZ, Ph.D. works as faculty at Duquesne University, Pittsburgh teaching Italian as a foreign language. Her current research focuses on foreign language pedagogy, sociocultural theory, systemic functional linguistics and qualitative research methods.

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