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It's good to talk: performing and recording the telephone interview

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This paper explores the transition of talk to text in the process of performing and recording semi-structured interviews over the telephone. In particular, it considers the ways respondents and the materials enjoined in the process of interviewing exceed their role in the research process. Drawing on my experience of conducting telephone interviews in the UK, I position the interview as an uncertain encounter: one framed by earlier narrations as much as the aims and objectives of the research project; and an orientation towards ‘talk’ as much as the reduction of performance to text. Far from losing track of these uncertainties I argue that tape-recorders are well equipped to document these in/audible realms.

Keywords: England; housing wealth; performance; telephone interviews; text

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Human Geography, Macquarie University, NSW 2109, Australia, Email:

Publication date: June 1, 2009


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