Ways of Listening to Women in Qualitative Research: Interview Techniques and Analysis

By Jack, Dana C. | Canadian Psychology, May 1999 | Go to article overview

Ways of Listening to Women in Qualitative Research: Interview Techniques and Analysis


Jack, Dana C., Canadian Psychology


Abstract

Qualitative research on depression requires methods of interviewing and analysis that allow the researcher to hear how social factors are structured in thought and how such factors affect depressive conflict. I discuss six ways of listening used in my qualitative research: open listening, focused awareness, attending to moral language, to inner dialogues, to meta-statements, and to the logic of the narrative. Examples illustrate how listening to processes of thought leads to content analysis that preserves the individuality of subjects, and to theory formation. Silencing the Self theory is summarized as it relates to these ways of listening.

Qualitative research relies on narratives, which are meaning making acts. The story a woman tells herself and retells others about the sources of her depression creates its coherence within the context of her life. Her narrative reveals her whole world--her view of herself in relationships, her sense of power, her path through life, and her strivings to reach some sort of ideal self. The language she uses to present herself not only produces meaning, but it constrains the possibilities of consciousness and the perception of choices.

Since we know that many concepts used within the field of depression research and treatment have a history of maleness (Stoppard, 1989), and represent "a deposit of the desires and disappointments of men" (Horney, 1967, p. 56), how are we to listen to depressed women without simply reproducing this tradition? How, for example, do we listen to recurring themes of low selfesteem, negative self-judgment, and problems in relationship without appropriating them to existing theories that simply sweep them under a rug called "dependency" or "lack of action and mastery strategies?" How can these themes, particularly the standards women use to evaluate themselves negatively, alert us to deeper issues that help us find new ways of understanding women's depression?

I have used interviews and qualitative analysis in research on depression in women (Jack, 1991; Jack, 1999b), lawyers' moral reasoning about dilemmas in their work (Jack & Jack, 1989), and women's aggression, which relates to their depression (Jack, 1999a). In general terms, these studies represent attempts to find new ways of understanding the interaction between person and social environment that affects women's psychology and their depressive vulnerability. My work follows the voice-centred method of inquiry proposed by Gilligan (1982) and colleagues (Belenky, Clinchy, Goldberger, & Tarule, 1986; Brown & Gilligan, 1992; Gilligan, Ward, & Taylor, 1988) which considers interview narratives as dialogues generated within a relationship of interviewer and subject, and which attempts to listen to a woman's experience in her own terms, from her point of view.

I have found six ways of listening within interviews that help me understand the narrator's point of view from her perspective, a perspective that is critical if we are to detail the diversity of women's experiences and social contexts. The first two ways of listening occur during the interview process itself; the remaining four occur not only during the interview, but also represent types of analyses to be undertaken systematically after interviews are transcribed. In what follows, I present these ways of listening and how they have led to insights about women's depression.

WAYS OF LISTENING

Since qualitative methods acknowledge the researcher as a vital part of a relational, collaborative process of inquiry (Stacey, 1991) that includes issues of inequality, ethics, and politics (Patai, 1991), we must take a reflexive stance in order to notice how we help shape the very texts we study (Fine, 1992; Shostak, 1998). First, we can attend to our own experience during interviews, to what Catherine Riessman (1993) calls the "prelinguistic" impact of the stories. Noticing how the swirl of story enters and affects our embodied, felt experience creates a broad, imaginative background to which we bring words that necessarily narrow as they communicate. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Ways of Listening to Women in Qualitative Research: Interview Techniques and Analysis
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.