Review Essay: Paradigm Wars Around Interview Methodologies: Constructionism and Postmodernism "on tap" or "on top"?

Tom Wengraf


Two overlapping volumes extracted from the Handbook of interview research are seen as providing a considerable variety and depth of useful technical advice for qualitative researchers and a plethora of ideological warfare and confu­sion which helps nobody. Chapters on a range of types of more or less reluctant respondents and on phone and computer-aided interviewing (on and off the Web) are followed by chapters on tran­scription and on computer-aided (or not) qualitat­ive analysis and interpretation from a variety of positions. Questions of representation are addres­sed. The review argues that post-modernist and constructivist practice can be a useful tactic in a struggle for a more reflexive and subtle researched understanding, but (as a philosophy competing for dominance) they make up a counter-productive "American ideology" which is self-contradictory, and personally and politically unhelpful. "On tap", yes; "on top", no!
URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs0401309


constructionism; postmodernism; real­ism; ethnomethodology; paradigm; ideology; re­flex­ivity; scientificity; Bachelard; interview; ethno­graphy; craft; interviewism

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Copyright (c) 2004 Tom Wengraf

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