Academic journal article Anglican and Episcopal History

The Routledge Guide to Interviewing: Oral History, Social Enquiry and Investigation

Academic journal article Anglican and Episcopal History

The Routledge Guide to Interviewing: Oral History, Social Enquiry and Investigation

Article excerpt

The Routledge Guide to Interviewing: Oral History, Social Enquiry and Investigation. By Anna Bryson and Seán McConville assisted by Mairead McClean. (Abingdon, Oxford: Routledge, 2014, Pp. vi, 159. $36.95, paper.)

I like the way this book begins, with a series of "Daily Encounters" that we never think of as interviewing, but which shed a lot of light on the skills we develop engaging with other people. As the authors note: "In your everyday life you read clues, assess risk, seek assurances, conduct background research, provide sureties and communicate effectively. These are survival skills: you are already well on your way to being an experienced and effective interviewer" (3). That is very reassuring for a student setting out to conduct their first interview. If common experience marks a good starting point, this book also spells out the complexities, and covers in useful detail exactly how to conduct a good interview. We think of interviewing as sitting down with someone else and asking them questions. The authors get to that, but not till chapter four. There is much to be thought of beforehand: why is the interview being done and what will it add to the research in view? This careful sifting of the value of what is being done reappears in a later chapter (chapter 7) around the use and value of video in addition to audio recording in an interview. Just because video is available does not exempt the researcher from thinking about the pros and cons of doing so.

The initial chapter on "thinking ahead" is followed by a valuable survey of ethical and legal aspects. We have become much more aware in recent years of protecting the rights of people who are invited to participate in our research: their right to be fully informed of what is being done and why, to participate completely voluntarily, to have any information they provide treated accurately, and for it to be disclosed only to the extent they wish. …

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