In their own words: Using interview materials when writing up qualitative research
The University of Queensland
Faculty of Education and Arts
School of Communication and Arts / Centre for Research in Entertainment, Arts, Technology, Education and Communications
Many qualitative projects involve in-depth interviews that create a large quantity of quotable data. The sheer volume of material can cause problems when it comes to writing up the research and using verbatim comments as part of the evidence-based for an academic argument. What factors should a researcher take into account when deciding which sections of an interview to quote, and how should participants’ words be integrated within the structure of a paper? Taking a published journal article as the basis for a case study, this essay unpacks the decisions made around the passages selected for publication and explains why particular segments were used. It also addresses the importance of marshalling materials to progress an argument, and of writing with a particular readership in mind. The perspective of the interviewer is valued and this model, since material that has the power to interest, intrigue, or astound the researcher collecting the data is also likely to have a memorable impact upon the intended audience, and this is to be welcomed.