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“Placing” Interviews: Location and Scales of Power in Qualitative Research

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For qualitative researchers, selecting appropriate sites in which to conduct interviews may seem to be a relatively simple research design issue. In fact it is a complicated decision with wide-reaching implications. In this paper, we argue that the interview site itself embodies and constitutes multiple scales of spatial relations and meaning, which construct the power and positionality of participants in relation to the people, places, and interactions discussed in the interview. We illustrate how observation and analysis of interview sites can offer new insights with respect to research questions, help researchers understand and interpret interview material, and highlight particular ethical considerations that researchers need to address.

Keywords: interview sites; qualitative research methodologies; research ethics

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: DePaul University, 2: University of Georgia

Publication date: November 1, 2000

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