Abstract and Figures

The purpose of this paper is to describe the systemic strategies used in marriage and family therapy relevant to interviews, via what we call the therapeutic interview process, that expand the meaning of a research study for both the counselor researcher and the participant(s). We outline the therapeutic interview process for conducting transformative-based interviews via similar strategies from a family systems perspective conceptualized by Charlés (2007). The central core of the interview process is the therapeutic conversation itself that involves the systemic whole. This therapeutic conversation is facilitated by debriefing interviews, whereby the counselor researcher is interviewed to promote reflexivity.
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The Qualitative Report 2013 Volume 18, Article 79, 1-17
The Therapeutic Interview Process
in Qualitative Research Studies
Judith A. Nelson and Anthony J. Onwuegbuzie
Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Texas, USA
Lisa A. Wines
Texas A & M Corpus Christi, Corpus Christi, Texas, USA
Rebecca K. Frels
Lamar University, Beaumont, Texas, USA
The purpose of this paper is to describe the systemic strategies used in
marriage and family therapy relevant to interviews, via what we call the
therapeutic interview process, that expand the meaning of a research study for
both the counselor researcher and the participant(s). We outline the
therapeutic interview process for conducting transformative-based interviews
via similar strategies from a family systems perspective conceptualized by
Charlés (2007). The central core of the interview process is the therapeutic
conversation itself that involves the systemic whole. This therapeutic
conversation is facilitated by debriefing interviews, whereby the counselor
researcher is interviewed to promote reflexivity. Keywords: Interviews,
Therapeutic Interview Process, Counselor Researcher, Family Systems
The Therapeutic Interview Process in Qualitative Research Studies
Interviews represent one of the most effective ways to collect data in qualitative
research because they provide the researcher with opportunities for rich data and meaning
making (Warren, 2002). In particular, interviews represent a useful method of obtaining
information about families and individual family members (Beitin, 2008). As such, in many
counseling fields, including the field of marriage and family therapy, interviews have been
the most utilized qualitative method (Gehart, Ratliff, & Lyle, 2001).
Because interviewing is an important part for many clinicians representing the
counseling fields due to its ability to capture the client’s voice, these clinicians might assume
that “interviewing is as similar as breathing” (Thorne, 2008, p. 78). However, this line of
thinking might render them resistant to changing their styles of interviewing appropriately
if at allto adjust to the interview context and to meet the needs of the interviewee(s). Thus,
more guidance is needed to help clinicians in general and counseling researchers in particular
confront the challenges in transitioning to research interviewing. Such guidance is
particularly needed for counselor researchers, who, when conducting research interviews,
must change their mindset from viewing themselves as the experts to treating the research
participants (i.e., interviewees) as experts regarding their own experiences. Such a shift in
thinking has occurred in some perspectives of viewing clients in therapy. For example,
Anderson and Goolishian (1992) described their shift from simply processing information
during therapy to a more hermeneutic and interpretive position that placed “heavy emphasis
on the role of language, conversation, self, and story” (p. 28). The role of the therapist
became one of not-knowing, which meant that the therapist’s understanding of a client’s
situation is not limited by pre-determined theoretical points of view or prior experiences. As
such, the therapist did not have a privileged viewpoint of understanding the client’s situation
2 The Qualitative Report 2013
(Wachterhauser, 1986). Moreover, just as therapeutic practitioners must continually reinvent
themselves to stay relevant and essential to current and prospective clients (Winslade, 2009);
counselor researchers also must continually seek out the most effective ways to gather and to
analyze data.
Because wellness is seen as the paradigm for the field of counseling (Myers &
Sweeney, 2008), we believe that, in certain instancesthat is, depending on the research
question and the overall goal of the studythe transformative conception of interviewing
(Roulston, 2010) is the most pertinent to counselor researchers. It is important to note that
Clarke (2006) discussed the potential harm to clients that might result from qualitative
interviewing (see also Boudah & Lenz, 2000; Bussell, Matsey, Reiss, & Heatherington,
1995); and we agree that is a danger. Berger and Malkinson (2000) enumerate seven aspects
of the research process that might have therapeutic implications for participants, offer a
perspective on ethical responsibilities of research considering these therapeutic implications,
and caution researchers about possible negative unintended outcomes for participants. Other
authors (Corbin & Morse, 2005; Dickson-Swift, James, Kippen, & Liamputtong, 2006) also
address issues of risk and ethical challenges when conducting qualitative interviews.
As such, what is needed in qualitative interviewing are specific strategies garnered
from counselor training for conducting transformative interviewing. From their training as
practitioners, counselor researchers possess skills such as empathic responding; multicultural
awareness, knowledge, and skills; and the ability to be reflexive. We believe these skills
guide counselor researchers and help in their awareness of how qualitative interviewing
might impact their participants. Therefore, for the remainder of this article, as counselor
researchers, we propose a model what we call the therapeutic interview processfor
conducting transformative-based interviews, wherein the process of the data collection may
generate meaning that is as important as the data themselves, and has the potential to be
curative and therapeutic to everyone involved, including the primary investigator, the
research participants, members of dissertation/thesis committees, transcribers, and any other
stakeholders. We believe, as relationship experts, counselor researchers are in a unique
position to empower research participants while, at the same time, experience deep and
meaningful connections with them.
It is our intent to provide a new and unique framework in counselor research that will
enhance the way we conduct research interviews in the field of professional counseling. This
new framework is unique in that the process is delineated as a primary consideration,
systemic strategies are important aspects of the interviewing techniques, and the interview
process is mapped within expanded systems. Additionally, the researcher is more intimately
connected to the interview development through a process called the interview of the
interpretive researcher (Onwuegbuzie, Leech, & Collins, 2008), which the authors describe as
a new type of debriefing interview in qualitative research. The rationale for debriefing the
researcher in qualitative studies includes enhancing reflexivity through a thorough
examination of the biases of the researcher.
Specifically, in our article, we describe how the therapeutic interview process
similar to family systems therapy strategiesexpands the meaning of a research study for
both the counselor researcher and the participant(s), creating unexpected change in each
person involved. We explore a variety of theoretical perspectives in systems theory that is
relevant to how each perspective might be similar to and useful in the therapeutic interview
process in qualitative research studies.
Judith A. Nelson, Anthony J. Onwuegbuzie, Lisa A. Wines, & Rebecca K. Frels 3
A Therapeutic Interview Process
As researchers, we are interested in the idea that, similar to family therapy sessions,
interviews in qualitative research can be beneficial and curative for researchers and
participants alike. Heppner, Kivlighan, and Wampold (1999) found parallels between the
phenomenological interview and the therapeutic interview and the importance of the
relationship between researcher and participant during the interview process or during the
research process. Other researchers have explored the idea of a multifaceted relationship
between qualitative research and family therapy (Haene, 2010). A comparable approach in
qualitative research and family therapy has been the development of postmodern thinking
(Anderson, 1997) marked by both narrative and social constructionist perspectives (Haene,
2010). Family systems thinking, in which the whole is greater than the sum of its parts,
assists us as qualitative researchers in organizing our ideas about the research system that
might include the researcher, co-researchers, participants, transcribers, research assistants,
dissertation/thesis committee members, institutional review boards, peer and professional
consultants, funding institutions, and other stakeholders (e.g., from the larger systems such as
schools, political entities, or agencies). The systems outlook used by marriage and family
therapists is a way to think about clients, the nature of their problem situations, and the
possibilities for change (Goldenberg & Goldenberg, 2008). As noted by Gehart and Tuttle
(2003), a systemic approach brings a team of counselors who reflect a collective mindset that
incorporates self-reflecting and self-appraising. Moreover, a systems outlook attends to a
family’s structure (e.g., how it organizes and maintains itself) as well as to its processes (e.g.,
how it evolves, adapts, or changes) as an ongoing and living system (Goldenberg &
Goldenberg, 2008). A family systems perspective and systemic language have been identified
in fields other than family therapy (Charlés, 2007).
In hostage negotiation, Charlés (2007), who analyzed the dialogue between a team of
law enforcement officers and a hostage taker during a hostage-taking incident at a high
school, identified nine interactional communication strategies used by these law enforcement
officers that were valued by systemic family therapists. Like Charlés (2007), we find
interactional communication strategies as found in family systems therapy relevant to the
therapeutic interview process. Thus, we have modified these nine strategies as follows:
1. establishing and maintaining a relationship with the client (interviewee);
2. understanding the context of interviewee’s experiences;
3. using the language of the interviewee;
4. including expanded or larger systems in the interview;
5. maintaining flexibility in conversation;
6. attending to the process of the interview;
7. using a restraining or go slow approach;
8. using a team process effectively; and
9. ending and summarizing the interview process.
These nine strategies comprise what we call the therapeutic interview process.
Figure 1 depicts the therapeutic interview process with respect to each of the nine
strategies. From this figure, it is evident that our therapeutic interview process occurs within
concentric circles. As such, we conceptualize our therapeutic interview process as
representing an iterative, interactive, integrative, integrated, integral, emerging, holistic,
synergistic, and transformative process. By iterative, we mean that the qualitative interviewer
goes back and forth in utilizing some or all of these strategies. By interactive, we imply that
4 The Qualitative Report 2013
the nine strategies that underlie the therapeutic interview process are inter-dependent. By
integrative, we suggest that an interview process that combines multiple and diverse
approaches within a centralized mode of delivery. Integrated connotes making into a whole
by bringing all parts (i.e., strategies) together. By integral, we indicate that the effectiveness
of our therapeutic interview process depends on the collective willingness of the researcher
and participant(s) to co-construct knowledge (Holstein & Gubrium, 2004) in a united quest
for addressing the underlying research questions. By emerging, we mean that the therapeutic
interview process is both fluid and flexible. By holistic, we mean that the interview process
should incorporate the major works in the area of criteria for assessing the quality of
interviews (e.g., Onwuegbuzie et al., 2008; Roulston, 2010). By synergistic, we mean that our
therapeutic interview process involves “strik[ing] a balance between a design that would
provide sufficient structure and direction while remaining flexible enough to respond to the
applied real world research environment(Hall & Howard, 2008, p. 249), as well as using a
dialectic approach to qualitative interviewing that involves incorporating diverse perspectives
to interviewing. Finally, and most importantly, by transformative, we mean that the
therapeutic interview process has at its root the transformative conception of interviewing,
wherein, as noted previously, the interviewer and interviewee “develop ‘transformed’ or
‘enlightened’ understandings as an outcome of dialogical interaction” (Roulston, 2010, p.
220). More specifically, we incorporate Frels’ (2010) concept of “two-way interactive
transformative-emancipatory approach” (p. 21), in which members of both sides of the
interview relationshipsnamely, the interviewer and interviewerare transformed in a
positive manner as a result of undergoing the interview process.
As seen in Figure 1, a therapeutic researcher negotiates each strategy with the
participant(s) through therapeutic conversation, including a point of entry (i.e., establishing
and maintaining a relationship with the interviewee) and a point of exit (i.e., ending and
summarizing the interview process). It can be seen that the arrows go to and from therapeutic
conversation to each of the nine strategies. The arrows going from therapeutic conversation to
each strategy indicate that each strategy is moderated by the therapeutic conversation. For
example, the therapeutic conversation helps to determine the speed with which the interview
process takes place. The arrows going from each strategy to therapeutic conversation indicate
that each strategy also shapes the therapeutic conversation. For instance, the research
question(s) (e.g., number of research questions, complexity of the research question[s]), study
design, and the characteristics of the participant (e.g., how much time the participant has to
be interviewed; the participant’s knowledge of, or exposure to, the construct of interest)
affect the speed with which the interview process takes place, which in turn, affects the
therapeutic conversation.
Further, the therapeutic conversation is shaped by and shapes what Onwuegbuzie et
al. (2008) refer to as debriefing-the-researcher interviewshence double-sided arrow
between these two elements. Onwuegbuzie et al. (2008) developed interview questions that
facilitate reflexivity of interviewers by reflecting “on their historical, socio-cultural, and
geographical situatedness, the biases they bring to the study, their personal investment in and
commitment to the study, and so forth” (Leech & Onwuegbuzie, 2008, p. 201). These authors
designed a framework for debriefing the interpretive researcher that provides guidelines for
the therapeutic interview process (see also, Chenail, 2011). First, a trusted and knowledgeable
person who is not involved in the study should conduct the debriefing interview. Second, the
interview should be audiotaped or videotaped. Third, the debriefing interviewer should not be
a stakeholder. Fourth, the interviewer should be someone who has interviewing experience
conducting qualitative research studies. Utilizing Onwuegbuzie et al.’s (2008) debriefing
technique of interviewing the interpretive researcher, a therapeutic researcher reflects and
recognizes ways to impact the larger system.
Judith A. Nelson, Anthony J. Onwuegbuzie, Lisa A. Wines, & Rebecca K. Frels 5
Figure 1. The iterative, interactive, integrative, integrated, integral, emerging, holistic, synergistic,
and transformative therapeutic interview process.
As such, Figure 1 depicts the central role of both the therapeutic conversation and the
debriefing interviews. We posit that the therapeutic interview process ultimately is the result
of interactions and collaboration between the interviewer and the interviewee using the nine
therapeutic interview strategies to enhance the outcomes of the interview process. In addition,
Debriefing the
Establishing and
maintaining a relationship
with the interviewee
expanded or
larger systems
in the interview
flexibility in
Using a team
the context of
or go slow
Attending to
the process of
the interview
Matching the
language of
Beginning the
interview process
6 The Qualitative Report 2013
the debriefing interviews of the counselor researcher significantly facilitate the ability of the
counselor researcher and the participant(s) to have a therapeutic conversation and to enhance
the authenticity of the entire research process. Each of these nine strategies and their
relationship to the counselor researcher’s personal thoughts and feelings is discussed in the
following sections.
Family Therapy and Qualitative Research Interviews
Strategy 1: Establishing and Maintaining a Relationship with the Client or Interviewee
Structural family therapists begin the process of therapy by adjusting to the family’s
style (Goldenberg & Goldenberg, 2008). Thus, establishing and maintaining a relationship
with the client or interviewee represents the entry point in our therapeutic interview process.
Minuchin (1974) described this process as joining with the family and accommodating to
their particular style. Similarly, Rossman and Rallis (2003) described the characteristics of
qualitative research including the humanistic and interactive nature of this type of inquiry,
with the researcher being highly involved in the actual experiences of the participants. By
joining the co-researchers on equal terms, voices of the marginalized, disenfranchised, and all
humans are valued and recorded.
Strategy 2: Matching the Language of the Interviewee
Part of maintaining a relationship with the interviewee includes the interviewer
matching the language of the interviewee, whenever possible. By matching the language, the
counselor researcher validates the interviewee’s experiences and perceptions and
demonstrates positive regard. Indeed, a shared language or dialect has been found to facilitate
communication in a positive way by enabling the interviewee to believe that her/his
perceptions and views have been adequately and accurately transmitted and understood
(Fallon & Brown, 2002). As concluded by Nazroo (2006), “the need to communicate the
questions and understand the answers means that a shared vocabulary, which language
matching brings, is paramount” (p. 65) and “where the emphasis is on hearing the
respondent’s story in their own words, the need for a shared vocabulary is paramount” (p.
73). We contend that the interviewer matching the language of the interviewee increases the
likelihood of what we call therapeutic transformation.
Strategy 3: Understanding the Context of Behavior
According to Bateson (1972), all behavior makes sense in context. In the family
systems therapeutic process, the therapist and the client(s) identify the interactional patterns
that maintain dysfunctional or unsatisfying relationships and then explore new interactional
patterns that produce a more satisfying family life. Anderson (1997) referred to the not
knowing approach, which espouses that clients are more knowledgeable about their problem
situations than is the therapist. Thus, in language, the therapist and the client(s)
collaboratively construct meaning about the clients’ experiences. The Milan group in
particular applied a strategy called circular questioning (Selvini-Palazzoli, Boscolo, Cecchin,
&, Prata, 1980) in which members of a system (family) were invited to describe the
relationships of others in the system, thereby providing deeper and richer depictions of the
system and honoring the perspectives of each member. The Milan group (circa 1980) found
these strategies of circular questions to be particularly effective when a member of the family
was asked to:
Judith A. Nelson, Anthony J. Onwuegbuzie, Lisa A. Wines, & Rebecca K. Frels 7
1. describe particular interactional patterns in certain circumstances;
2. describe specific differences in the behaviors of others;
3. rank behaviors or interactional patterns of others;
4. describe relationships before and after certain events; and
5. describe differences in terms of hypothetical situations.
Tomm (1984) provided detailed descriptions of how the Milan group worked with clients
including the usefulness of the interviewing principle of circular questioning. Tomm (1987a,
1987b) also elaborated on the Milan group’s model by discussing strategizing and reflexive
As a counselor researcher attends to the lived experiences and narratives of
interviewees, all points of view are thought to be integral to the process of describing the
participants’ view of their own understanding of these experiences—or what is commonly
referred to as co-constructing knowledge (cf. Holstein & Gubrium, 2004). Like the family
therapist, the researcher does not presume to know what the interviewee is describing, but
rather probes and elicits rich and thick descriptions (Geertz, 1973) of the participant’s lived
experiences. Listening for contextual clues about the experiences of the participant provides a
point of entry into the lived experiences that are being explored in the research study.
Strategy 4: Including Expanded or Larger Systems in the Interview
Marriage and family therapists are skilled at involving other systems in therapeutic
conversations even if no one from those systems is present (Goldenberg & Goldenberg,
2008). These other systems might include extended family, teachers, day care workers,
members of the juvenile justice system, social services, and others. Using Bronfenbrenner’s
(1979, 2005) expanded ecological schema of nested systems that shape human growth and
development, the therapeutic interview process also accesses systems that are relevant to the
research study. Researchers might access the support of librarians, co-researchers,
participants, transcribers, research assistants, institutional review board members, peer and
professional consultants, representatives of funding institutions, and other stakeholders (e.g.,
from the larger systems such as schools, political entities, agencies). Figure 2 illustrates a
nested therapeutic interview process as it pertains to Bronfenbrenner’s (1979, 2005)
ecological theory. As seen in Figure 2, the therapeutic interview process is central to the
immediate setting (i.e., Level 1) of the participant(s) in the qualitative research study. Level
2, communication and efforts on behalf of the research supportive networks (e.g., co-
researchers, librarians, other stakeholders), extends from the immediate setting to other levels
(i.e., Level 3 and Level 4). Thus, a spiraling effect results from the therapeutic interview
process and results occur not only with the participant and researcher, but also with larger
systems such as the community and culture. This idea of mapping Bronfenbrenner’s (1979,
2005) ecological theory onto the therapeutic interview process is consistent with
Onwuegbuzie, Collins, and Frels’ (2013) mapping of this systems theory onto the whole
research process. According to Onwuegbuzie et al. (2013), virtually all qualitative research
studies involve research conducted at one or more of Bronfenbrenner’s (1979) four levels that
they coined as micro-research studies (i.e., Level 1: research wherein one or more persons or
groups are studied within his/her/their immediate environment[s]), meso-research studies
(i.e., Level 2: research wherein one or more persons or groups are studied within other
systems in which the he/she/they spends time), exo-research studies (i.e., Level 3: research
wherein one or more persons or groups are studied within systems by which the he/she/they
might be influenced but of which he/she/they is not directly a member), and macro-research
studies (i.e., Level 4: research wherein one or more persons or groups are studied within the
8 The Qualitative Report 2013
larger cultural world or society surrounding him/her/them). Debriefing interviews can play
an important role here by helping the counselor researcher to reflect on how to ask questions
on different levels, and how to ask questions that deal with both content and process, as well
as how to ask circular questions.
Figure 2. A nested therapeutic interview process based on Bronfenbrenner’s (1979) ecological
Strategy 5: Maintaining Flexibility in the Conversation
Marriage and family therapists use conversational flexibility to increase the
possibilities for positive outcomes in therapy. The term for this flexibility often is described
as the therapist’s ability to maneuver or to position her/him (Epstein, & Loos, 1989) to
enhance the relationship with the clients and to create a space for change. During the
therapeutic interview process in qualitative research, the counselor researcher creates a stance
that can be bracketed (i.e., epoché; Gearing, 2004) so as not to interfere with the participant’s
narratives. Some authors (Van Manen, 1990) have referred to this as situating oneself in such
a way as to acknowledge and to make transparent the researcher’s previous beliefs, biases,
and assumptions. In this way, the counselor researcher can give full credibility to each
participant’s narrative. Thus, in its most postmodern form, the interview is not merely a
record of the participant’s voice wherein the interviewer assumes the role of a completely
passive observer, but rather a co-construction of knowledge (Onwuegbuzie et al., 2008) with
the ultimate goal being to capture the participant’s voice as completely and meaningfully as
needed based on the research question and study design.
Strategy 6: Attending to the Process of the Interview
In systems thinking and, as previously noted, there is more focus on the process of the
communication in a therapy session than on the content of the communication. In other
words, systems thinkers are much more interested in the relationship among elements than in
the elements themselves (Goldenberg & Goldenberg, 2008). Moustakas (1994) discussed
several concepts similar to systemic thinking in his elements of a qualitative research model
such as focusing on the wholeness of experience rather than on its parts, searching for
meanings of experiences rather than for explanations, and obtaining descriptions of
experiences through first-person narratives. We believe that the systems consisting of
researchers, co-researchers, transcribers, research participants, methodologists,
Level 1: Therapeutic
Interview Process
Level 2: Interconnections
through Support Staff
Level 3: Community, Field
of Counseling/Research
Level 4: Cultural Values,
Social Conditions
Judith A. Nelson, Anthony J. Onwuegbuzie, Lisa A. Wines, & Rebecca K. Frels 9
dissertation/thesis committee members, transcribers, peer debriefers, and any other
stakeholders can be viewed as interlocking systems in which the process of the qualitative
research study may supersede the content or outcomes of the study. That is, the collective
participants of the study who have contributed to the process of inquiry, an examination of a
research question, and the ways in which they have participated can generate as much
meaning as the actual data can generate. For this reason, we find it essential to report the
process of a research study to the fullest extent possible. Indeed, this is a central tenet of
debriefing interviews, which, as conceptualized by Onwuegbuzie et al. (2008), includes
questions that extract information about the interview process itself as a necessary
Strategy 7: Taking a Restraining or Go Slow Approach
The go slow or restraining approach is a paradoxical intervention used in strategic
family therapy (Shoham, Rohrbaugh, & Patterson, 1995). The message to clients is that
change takes time and must be accomplished in the proper sequence. Restraining is a way to
prepare clients for change. Often, clients (paradoxically) want to prove the therapist wrong
and make changes of their own accord. On the other hand, if clients are urged to hurry up and
make changes, they may resist or give up. Like therapy, the therapeutic interview cannot
possess a sense of urgency. Anderson and Goolishian (1988) explained that attempting to
understand fully someone’s experience too quickly can instead be a detriment to
understanding. Similarly, as admonished by Tomm (1984), using circular questions too
quickly can be difficult for interviewees because such practice can overwhelm them, stunting
the collection of rich or even trustworthy interview data.
The go slow approach is particularly influential when considering the concept of
prolonged engagement in research. In this respect, the counselor researcher should avoid
conducting one-shot interviews. In fact, we recommend that a minimum of two interviews (of
which one of the interviews can involve a follow-up interview to check part or all of the
transcribed interview at the descriptive and/or interpretational level [i.e., member checking
interview]) be conducted in every study because it is only by conducting at least two
interviews that a counselor researcher can be confident that saturation has been reached
namely, data saturation, informational redundancy, and/or theoretical saturation (i.e., no new
or relevant information appears to emerge pertaining to a category, and the category
development is well established and validated; Lincoln & Guba, 1985). Additionally, the
strategy of member checking (Lincoln & Guba, 1985) contributes to the trusting bond formed
in a close research relationship. Lincoln and Guba (1985) posited that member checking is an
active process of determining if the descriptions of the observations and interviews are
complete and realistic, the themes are accurate, and the interpretations are fair. Indeed, our
call for conducting multiple interviews whenever possible is consistent with the
recommendation of phenomenological researchers such as Seldman (2012). This notion of
conducting multiple interviews is also consistent with Glaser and Strauss’s (1967) concept of
theoretical sampling within the grounded theory approach that is undertaken in an attempt to
arrive at deeper understanding of previously analyzed (e.g., interviewed) participants; as well
as Spradley’s (1979) concept of ethnographic analysis, wherein domain analysis, taxonomic
analysis, and componential analysis are used to obtain structural questions (i.e., domain
analysis, taxonomic analysis) and/or contrast questions (i.e., componential analysis) that are
asked in follow-up (structural) interviews. Moreover, the use of multiple interviews allows
the counselor researcher to assess three levels of saturation: within-interview saturation (i.e.,
referring to the degree to which data from any single interview reached saturation), across-
interview saturation (i.e., referring to the degree that saturation occurred across all the
10 The Qualitative Report 2013
interviews conducted on a single participant), across-participant saturation (i.e., referring to
the degree that saturation occurred across all the interviews conducted on all the participants
in an inquiry)which, if evidence was obtained for all three levels of saturation, would yield
Strategy 8: Using a Team Process Effectively
In the field of marriage and family therapy, reflecting teams have been used to
enhance the therapeutic experience of clients (Brownlee, Vis, & McKenna, 2009). Multiple
perspectives are shared with the family in order to expand the possibilities for change. In the
therapeutic interview process, counselor researchers enlist the assistance of colleagues,
transcribers, experts in the field of study, mentors, and anyone else who contributes to the
research experience as their reflecting team. The sharing of multiple perspectives helps
counselor researchers develop a meta-perspective of themselves” (Chenail, 1997, Paragraph
18) and to “build a meta-view on their own work” (Chenail, 1997, Paragraph 28). As
interpretive interviewers reflect on their works during the debriefing interviews, these
multiple perspectives are examined respective to the interviewer’s experiences and
perceptions of the emerging themes. Important in the field of research is the concept of
reflexivity and investigating researcher bias (Lather, 1991). Thus, the therapeutic researcher
illuminates preconceived ideas regarding the research experience through systematized
reflexivity. The team process is most helpful for promoting the goal of the researcher moving
deeper into the investigation and capturing participants’ voices to a greater extent by
identifying each researcher’s thoughts, perceptions, feelings, and experiences. As such, a
research team should recognize the idea that an individual acquires knowledge through his or
her interaction with social processes and contexts (Piaget, 1954). Kolb (1984) contended that
learning is a continuous, holistic, and adaptive process wherein a person experiences a range
of emotions, increased awareness, and innovative conceptualizations.
Strategy 9: Ending and Summarizing the Interview Process
This strategy marks the exit point of the therapeutic interview process. In the
therapeutic interview process, the pathway to this phase is via one or more debriefing
interviews. However, as can be seen in Figure 1, the debriefing interview that directly
precedes the exit point occurs between the interviewer (i.e., the counselor researcher) and the
intervieweeas opposed to the debriefing interviews that occur between the debriefer and
the interviewer, as is the case for the other eight strategies. In our therapeutic interview
process, the interviewer-interviewee debriefing interview most likely would involve some
form of (final) member checking interview. This member checking interview could serve
several purposes. First and foremost, it could be used to confirm data’s trustworthiness and
plausibility of one or more rounds of interviews and thus maximize descriptive validity (i.e.,
the factual accuracy of the participant interview responses as documented by the researcher;
Maxwell, 1992). Or, at a deeper level, the member checking could be used to increase
interpretive validity (i.e., the extent that a researcher’s interpretation of a participant’s
account signifies an awareness of the perspective of the underlying group and the meanings
linked to her or his words and actions; Maxwell, 1992) or even theoretical validity (i.e., the
extent that a theoretical explanation developed from research findings fits the data, and thus,
is credible, trustworthy, and confirmable; Maxwell, 1992). However, the most important
function of interviewer-interviewee debriefing interviews is to promote therapeutic
transformation via the advancement of ontological authenticity, educative authenticity,
catalytic authenticity, and, most importantly, tactical authenticity. These interviewer-
Judith A. Nelson, Anthony J. Onwuegbuzie, Lisa A. Wines, & Rebecca K. Frels 11
interviewee debriefing interviews can be conducted face-to-face or non-face-to-face, which,
in turn, could be occur either synchronously (e.g., telephone, Skype, chatrooms, instant
messaging, Second Life, mobile phone text) or asynchronously (e.g., email, websites, mobile
phone text, reflexive journals).
Suggestions for Qualitative Researchers
Legitimation of Qualitative Findings
Researchers should be mindful that the purpose of an investigation must reflect
structures to increase the credibility of the findings (Onwuegbuzie & Leech, 2007). These
necessary structures include development of a relationship (rapport building and trust),
opportunities for reflection (journaling), and a systemic approach (the research process
encapsulating many entities). Another form of structure to increase the credibility of the
findings is through triangulation. Denzin (1978) described multiple methods available to use
to triangulate a research phenomenon (see also Johnson, 1997). These methods are multiple,
data, methodological, investigator, and theoretical triangulation. The implications of this
article suggest that multiple data triangulation methods are used by cross-checking and
corroborating the information via the use of many procedures and sources outlined in this
Multicultural Implications
There are considerations that researchers make when working with participants of a
study. Considerations should be given in that strategies relevant to the inquiry process are
cross-cultural and can suspend cultural barriers that might exist between researcher and
participant. Examples such as joining and accommodating the participant, following the path
of communication, facilitating the role of participants as co-researchers, taking a position of
not knowing, including larger systems, situating oneself, and experiencing vicarious learning
are evidence of strategies that remove cultural barriers and employ the type of co-
participation necessary between researchers and their participants.
Implications for Teaching
The therapeutic interview process has important implications not only for the teaching
of qualitative research courses but also for the teaching of counseling courses. With respect to
the former, instructors of qualitative research courses can teach the therapeutic interview
process or some adaptation to students in many ways. For example, one lesson or more could
be devoted to introduce students to each of the nine strategies. With regard to the latter, the
therapeutic interview process could be used in select counseling courses to illustrate the
important role that counseling in general and the family systems therapeutic process in
particular play in fine-tuning interviewing skills for qualitative research studies.
As mentioned earlier, concerns of dual relationships, appropriate boundaries, and
ethical dilemmas exist in qualitative interviewing. As such, it is incumbent on counselor
educators to use caution when teaching the therapeutic interview process. For example,
Bourdeau (2000) suggested utilizing a decision-making model in qualitative research much
like counselors use when facing ethical dilemmas with their clients. In a study conducted by
Dickson-Swift et al. (2006), the researchers interviewed qualitative researchers who
described the problematic situations that arise in interviewing participants around sensitive
topics. Their recommendations included having defined protocols for the following:
12 The Qualitative Report 2013
1. disclosure of who the researcher is and why this particular topic is being
2. building rapport with the participants;
3. making clear the difference between therapy and interviews;
4. implementing strategies for leaving the research relationship; and
5. managing professional boundaries.
All of the above processes would be appropriate to incorporate into teaching research
methods and qualitative studies in which students are already learning about ethics in
research. Clarke (2006) discusses the importance of researchers being open and honest about
research inquiries and their willingness to have their studies scrutinized by others. Teaching
counseling students about the importance of the internal review process is essential. These are
all important considerations for the counselor educator who teaches research courses, chairs
of dissertation committee, or partners with students on research teams. Counselor educators
also could teach students how to conduct a debriefing interview. Works such as Chenail
(2011), Onwuegbuzie et al. (2008), and Frels and Onwuegbuzie (2012) provide useful
starting points for teaching this concept.
More than a decade ago, Chenail (1997) thoughtfully declared the following:
Interviewing has become a widely used means for data generation in
qualitative research. It is also a popular approach for counselors and therapists
in their qualitative research projects. A major reason qualitative research-style
interviewing is a favored technique with researching clinicians is that it is so
similar to the way in which counselors and therapists interact with their clients
in therapy sessions. Given this closeness in form, it would make sense that
some of the ways therapists are taught to interview could be adapted to help
beginning qualitative researchers learn interviewing skills as well. (Abstract)
Despite this declaration, although some of the techniques that counselors use in their day-to-
day therapy sessions have been utilized to help train interviewers in qualitative research (e.g.,
Chenail, 1997), to date, this work has not yet cohered into a comprehensive framework or set
of ideal counseling techniques.
With this in mind, the purpose of this article was to describe the systemic strategies
relevant to qualitative research, via what we call the therapeutic interview process, that
expand the meaning of a research study for both the counselor researcher and the
participant(s). Specifically, we described how a therapeutic interview process, similar to
family systems therapy, and which had the transformative conception of interviewing as its
foundationspecifically, a two-way interactive transformative-emancipatory approachcan
expand the meaning of a research study and create unexpected change in each person
involved. In so doing, our framework is unique in at least three ways. First, by delineating the
process of the interview as a primary consideration in qualitative research, we recognize the
role of the therapeutic researcher as an extension of counselor as person and the importance
of the interview of the counselor as person (and interpretive researcher) to minimize the
effects of representation, legitimation, and praxis. Second, by outlining the therapeutic
interview process via a modification of Charlés’ (2007) strategies found in death notification
and hostage negotiation, respectively (i.e., establishing and maintaining a relationship with
Judith A. Nelson, Anthony J. Onwuegbuzie, Lisa A. Wines, & Rebecca K. Frels 13
the client, matching the language of the interviewee, understanding the context of
interviewee’s experiences, including expanded or larger systems in the interview, maintaining
flexibility in conversation, attending to the process of the interview, using go slow approach,
using a team process effectively, and ending and summarizing the interview process), we
maintain that the central core of the interview process is the therapeutic conversation itself
and that this process optimally results in a trusting bond between the researcher and
participant(s). Finally, through the mapping of the therapeutic interview process within the
expanded systems outlined by Goldenberg and Goldenberg (2008) and Bronfenbrenner
(1979, 2005), we recognize that the therapeutic interview involves the systemic whole and
that the outcomes of the therapeutic interview are far reaching for researchers from the field
of counseling and beyond. Thus, we believe that family systemic thinking is both relevant
and crucial in our approach to qualitative interviews to create a deeper meaning for all
members involved.
As seen in Figure 1, each of the nine strategies underlying the (two-way interactive
transformative-emancipatory) therapeutic interview process can be used to different degrees,
depending on the research question(s) (e.g., number of research questions, complexity of the
research question[s]) and study design, and the characteristics of the participant (e.g., how
much time the participant has to be interviewed, the participant’s knowledge of, or exposure
to, the construct of interest). Indeed, because the degree that each strategy is utilized in the
interview process lies on a continuum, the nine strategies can be combined in an almost
unlimited number of ways, such that each participant has a unique (therapeutic interview
process) profile. Thus, utilizing the therapeutic interview process clearly represents a
systems approach wherein the researcher and participant(s) work together for systemic
change. Simply put, we contend that utilizing the therapeutic interview process yields
therapeutic interview systems thinking. We will leave the last word to Poggenpoel and
Myburgh (2003):
Central to conducting research and more specifically qualitative research is the
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data from respondents. It is through the researcher's facilitative interaction that
a context is created where respondents share rich data regarding their
experiences and life world. It is the researcher that facilitates the flow of
communication, who identifies cues and it is the researcher that sets
respondents at ease. This also contributes to a therapeutic effect for the
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Author Note
Judith A. Nelson is an associate professor in the Educational Leadership and
Counseling Department at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas. She is a
marriage and family therapist and teaches theories of marriage and family therapy in the
Master’s of Arts in Community Counseling.
Anthony J. Onwuegbuzie is a professor in the Educational Leadership and Counseling
Department at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas. He is a licensed secondary
school teacher, educational psychologist, and methodologist with expertise in quantitative,
qualitative, and mixed research methodologies.
Judith A. Nelson, Anthony J. Onwuegbuzie, Lisa A. Wines, & Rebecca K. Frels 17
Lisa A. Wines is an assistant professor at Texas A & M Corpus Christi in Corpus
Christi, Texas. She is a coordinator of the school counseling program, a certified school
counselor, and licensed professional counseling intern.
Rebecca K. Frels is an assistant professor in the Special Populations and Counseling
Department at Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas. She is a graduate of the Counselor
Education doctoral program at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas.
Correspondence concerning this manuscript should be addressed to Judith A. Nelson,
Sam Houston State University, Departmental of Educational Leadership and Counseling, Box
2119, Huntsville, TX 77341. Phone: 936-294-4659. E-mail: nelson@shsu.edu
Copyright 2013: Judith A. Nelson, Anthony J. Onwuegbuzie, Lisa A. Wines, Rebecca
K. Frels, and Nova Southeastern University.
Article Citation
Nelson, J. A., Onwuegbuzie, A. J., Wines, L. A., & Frels, R. K. (2013). The therapeutic
interview process in qualitative research studies. The Qualitative Report, 18(79), 1-17.
Retrieved from http://www.nova.edu/ssss/QR/QR18/nelson79.pdf
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... Research suggests that personal interviews provide an avenue for meaning-making and, when handled correctly, may even be therapeutic (Nelson, Onwuegbuzie, Wines, & Frels, 2013), cathartic, healing, empowering, create a sense of purpose or give a voice to the disenfranchised (Hutchison et al., 1994). Personal interviews may offer participants the opportunity to express their thoughts and feelings with an interested neutral party, and have been associated with gained self-awareness through the process of answering personal questions (Rossetto, 2014). ...
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This thesis explores crime and forgiveness from the perspectives of victims and perpetrators. While extensive research exists on the traumatic or harmful effects of crime for victims (Davis & Friedman, 1985; Frieze, Hymer, & Greenberg, 1987; Janoff-Bulman, 1989; Orth, Montada, & Maercker, 2006) far less research exists on the effect that criminal wrongdoing has on the perpetrator (Collins & Bailey, 1990; MacNair 2002a). The literature likewise holds little in the way of explicating how victims and offenders may be able mitigate such effects. One factor that appears to make a difference in this respect is forgiveness. Yet while forgiveness has received more attention in the religious and psychological literatures, there is much less known about its impacts in relationship to the effects of crime. In this study I seek to gain a richer and more nuanced understanding of the effects of crime and forgiveness in the lives of victims and offenders. As the focus of this study is the understanding of forgiveness from the perspectives of victims and offenders, as well as an examination of how they view forgiveness as affecting their lives, I utilized an interpretive phenomenological approach. Interpretive phenomenology provides a methodological framework from which to explore detailed and intimate understandings of people’s lives as they seek to make sense of and live in their social worlds (Reiners, 2012; van Manen, 1990); in this case for victims and perpetrators of crime. Towards this goal, in this study I employed semi-structured, in-depth interviews, conducted with a purposeful sample of 12 victims and 19 offenders ranging in age from 19 to 70. Following these interviews, I utilized an iterative process of data analysis, involving multiple readings of the interview transcripts and three divisions of coding which facilitated the identification of emergent and master themes within each case and superordinate themes which occurred across cases. In this study, I find that victims and offenders are decidedly affected by the harms they received and/or perpetrated, and that many credit forgiveness with restoring their psychological and emotional well-being as it released them from the distressing aftereffects of the crime they experienced. In my analysis of 31 interviews with victims and offenders, I developed seven themes used to explain the offence-related effects experienced by participants from their perspectives. Victims reported suffering ‘traumatic effects’ in the form of mental, behavioural, and somatic outcomes. Crime victimisation also created ‘threats iii to identity and self’ for many victims. In the aftermath of the crime victims often explained their ‘lost faith in a just world’ or having ‘unmet justice needs’. Offenders reported experiencing ‘challenged lives’ in the form of mental, emotional and future effects due to their criminal behaviour. They also explained significant impression management strategies as a way to ‘save face’ as they engaged in what I call ‘blame talk’ as a means to either accept or reject blame. In the second part of my focus, namely the effects of forgiveness on victims and offenders, I analysed the interviews to develop several themes related to how participants explained their understanding of forgiveness, or how they understood it to have affected their lives. Victims’ conceptualised forgiveness in terms of both ‘victim-focused’ and ‘offenderfocused benefits’. Victims also perceived forgiveness in terms of its restorative and transformative ‘functions’ in their lives. Offenders viewed forgiveness in terms of ‘giving’ and ‘receiving’ it as a part of the way they made sense of what it felt like or meant to them to be the forgiver and the role they played with respect to receiving forgiveness. Most offenders believed forgiveness assisted them in ‘moving forward’ with their lives. Of particular salience for offenders was ‘self-forgiveness’ and forgiveness they receive from loved ones. This study makes contributions to both theoretical and applied knowledge regarding the complex needs of victims and offenders in terms of how they make sense of their experiences in the aftermath of crime. Theoretically, the findings of the study suggest that forgiveness may be an effective means for mitigating the offence-related effects experienced by both victims and offenders. In terms of applied knowledge, a keener understanding of the viewpoints of victims and offenders has practical applications as it may assist those such as clinicians, service providers, and criminal justice professionals involved in the treatment or custodial care of both victims and offenders in the creation and implementation of treatment programs and protocols that would better address the complex needs of those who have experienced deleterious effects as a consequence of the harms they received and/or perpetrated.
... When these incidents are probed into, these individuals may be re-traumatised. Nevertheless, skilful and sensitive interviews can sometimes be helpful (Nelson et al., 2013). Subjects may benefit from talking openly about their experiences. ...
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Background The 2004 tsunami, the civil conflict until 2009 and the youth insurrection in the late 1980s in Sri Lanka resulted in many persons being classified as ‘missing’ as they disappeared and were unaccounted for. Our aim was to compare the prevalence of major depressive disorder (MDD) and prolonged grief disorder (PGD) in families of disappeared individuals, who eventually received the mortal remains and those who did not. Method An ethically approved cross sectional study was conducted in a purposively selected sample after informed consent. Information on the circumstances of the family member going missing was gathered. Culturally adapted versions of the General Health Questionnaire and the Beck Depression Scale were administered. Those who screened positive were assessed by a psychiatrist on Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-5 criteria to arrive at a diagnosis. Results Of 391 cases of disappearances studied, MDD (17.5% v. 6%) and PGD (22% v. 7%) were significantly higher in those who did not eventually receive the mortal remains of the disappeared person. Among those who did not receive the mortal remains, being unsure whether the disappeared person was dead or alive was highly predictive of MDD and PGD. Mothers and wives, older family members and those with a family history of mental illness were more vulnerable. Conclusions Family members of missing individuals unsure whether their loved one was alive or dead have higher psychological morbidity in the form of MDD and PGD.
... posited that researchers used semistructured interviews to describe the participants thinking. The use of semistructured interviews met the requirements of qualitative research when the interview protocol used open-ended questions allowing the researcher to find a comprehensive understanding of the responses to the questions and allowed the researcher the liberty to follow-up with supplementary investigation(Fusch & Ness, 2015;Marshall & Rossman, 2016;McIntosh & Morse, 2015;Nelson, Onwuegbuzie, Wines, & Frels, 2013;Oltmann, 2016;Onwuegbuzie, 2014). To assure a comprehensive understanding of the participant answers to the interview questions, I used a semistructured interview protocol. ...
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The loss of revenue, profits, brand, and corporate sustainability are possible for companies whose managers do not use strategies to motivate employee sales performance. The purpose of this multiple case study was to explore the strategies managers use to motivate sales employees’ performance. A purposeful sample of 3 managers from U.S. companies with sales employees shared their strategies to motivate sales employees’ performance. Methodological triangulation was used to review and analyze information from semistructured interviews, journal notes, member checking data, and review and analysis of relevant company documents. Additionally, coding indicated 4 main themes supporting the benefits of strategies to motivate sales employees’ performance: sales personnel with self-motivation exhibit enhanced sales results earlier than nonself-motivated personnel; setting mandatory guidelines, and continuous checking to observe results motivates performance; financial rewards enhance performance; and sales employees receive motivation from recognition of their peer sales group and the organization. The study findings may contribute to social change by increasing the awareness of sales managers to motivate their sales employees, who will add revenue and profits to the organization thereby maintaining jobs, creating more jobs, and providing additional disposable income for health and well-being.
... However, this may relate to the particular Portuguese context as there is evidence within some Western countries chaplains fulfill this role irrespective of a patient's religious or non-religious status, and thus in other contexts patients, might have had this opportunity with chaplains (Carey and Cohen, 2008). This raises another very important point about research in spirituality insofar as the interviews may serve not only as a method for data collection but could represent a therapeutic intervention, something which requires further exploration and research (Nelson and Onwuegbuzie 2013). ...
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Holistic nursing care requires attention to the spiritual dimension. This is particularly important when caring for patients with cancer. This research presents the results of the assessment of spiritual well-being using the Spiritual Well-Being Questionnaire (SWBQ) to validate the nursing diagnosis of spiritual distress. Structured interviews were conducted with 169 patients in one hospital in Portugal. We concluded that the SWBQ is a useful and reliable instrument to assess spiritual distress, which highlights the importance of listening to patients and questioning them about spiritual needs as well as the importance of differential diagnosis aimed at effective interventions.
... However, the purpose of the research interview was not intentionally offering any form of therapy, despite the participant report. This study suggests that researchers should be aware of the qualitative therapeutic interview process and its possible benefits for the participants' emotional wellbeing throughout the research process, that is also mirrored in other literature [55,56]. ...
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Background Many rare diseases of childhood are life-threatening and chronically debilitating, so living with a rare disease is an on-going challenge for patients and their families. MPS is one of a range of rare inherited metabolic disorders (IMDs) that come under category 3 of life-limiting conditions, where there is no curative treatment available at present. Although the study of rare diseases is increasingly novel, and of clinical importance to the population, the lack of empirical data in the field to support policy and strategy development is a compelling argument for further research to be sought. Methods This qualitative hermeneutic phenomenological study explored and interpreted Irish parents’ experiences of living with and caring for children, adolescents and young adults with MPS and the impact of these diseases on their day to day life. A purposively selected sample of parents’ attending the Irish National Centre for Inherited Metabolic Disorders was invited to participate in serial in-depth interviews. ResultsA total of eight parents’ (n = 8) of children with a range of MPS disorders aged from 6 months to 22 years (MPS I Hurler syndrome, Scheie syndrome), MPS II (Hunter syndrome), MPS III (Sanfilipo syndrome) and MPS VI (Maroteaux-Lamy syndrome) were interviewed at three time points over a 17 month period. The main themes identified during data analysis were described as living with MPS, living with a genetic rare disease, the stigma of a rare condition, MPS as encompassing multiple diseases, Unknown future, hospital vs. home, experience of waiting, a tough road ahead, and things in their day-to-day life with MPS. They spoke of their child’s Quality of Life (QoL), their healthy children’s wellbeing, and for some, the impact on their own physical and psychological wellbeing. They also reflected on issues of stigmatisation and isolation in their experience of living with a child with a rare disorder. Conclusion This study’s findings reflect the wider literature on the impact of rare diseases, which have also indicated how caring for someone with MPS, a condition that is chronic, progressive and degenerative can impact on all dimensions of the family’s life. Analysis of the findings using a hemenutic pheomenology perspecitve suggest that parents of children with MPS experience multiple cyclical movements across all five human lived existential experience, and they gradually develop ways to incorporate MPS in their day to day life. It was also evident that all the carers in this study experienced a range of uncertainties, with parents using terms such as ‘no man’s land’ and ‘future is unknown’ to describe their world.
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The lived experiences of eight African American women college students were explored from an interpretive phenomenological analytic framework. The researchers identified six main themes about participants and their reported family dynamics: (a) collectivistic yet disconnected, (b) avoidance, (c) functioning in dysfunction, (d) gendered differences, (e) motivation to change the family's homeostasis, and (f) talking about generational trauma as a motivator to repair communication. Implications for culturally responsive counseling and generational trauma‐informed counselor training are discussed.
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With the potentially sensitive nature of qualitative family research, the process of these inquiries can come to resemble the therapeutic process. Therapy and research done by therapists and other family professionals share similar philosophical and structural qualities. Inherent in this is a structural power differential that opens the possibility for abuse of participants by researchers. Meara and Schmidt (1991) give four principles for guiding the treatment of qualitative research participants, however; they address only the relationship of researcher-participant and not the additional relationships that may arise from research. In this article, the author proposes some guidelines for relationships between the researcher and participant based on guidelines for therapists and their clients.
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In this manuscript, we describe the use of debriefing interviews for interviewing the interpretive researcher. Further, we demonstrate the value of using debriefing questions as part of a qualitative research study, specifically, one doctoral student's dissertation study. We describe the reflexivity process of the student in her study and the debriefing data that were coded via qualitative coding techniques. Thus, we provide an exemplar of the debriefing process and the findings that emerged as a result. We believe that our exemplar of interviewing the interpretive researcher provides evidence of an effective strategy for addressing the crises of representation and legitimation for researchers and instructors of qualitative methods courses alike. © 2012: Rebecca K. Frels, Anthony J. Onwuegbuzie, and Nova Southeastern University.
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Instrumentation rigor and bias management are major challenges for qualitative researchers employing interviewing as a data generation method in their studies. A usual procedure for testing the quality of an interview protocol and for identifying potential researcher biases is the pilot study in which investigators try out their proposed methods to see if the planned procedures perform as envisioned by the researcher. Sometimes piloting is not practical or possible so an "interviewing the investigator" technique can serve as a useful first step to create interview protocols that help to generate the information proposed and to assess potential researcher biases especially if the investigator has a strong affinity for the participants being studied or is a member of the population itself.
Interviewing has become a widely used means for data generation in qualitative research. It is also a popular approach for counselors and therapists in their qualitative research projects. A major reason qualitative research-style interviewing is a favored technique with researching clinicians is that it is so similar to the way in which counselors and therapists interact with their clients in therapy sessions. Given this closeness in form, it would make sense that some of the ways therapists are taught to interview could be adapted to help beginning qualitative researchers learn interviewing skills as well. In this paper, three sets of exercises are presented which can be employed in the training of qualitative research interviewers.
Cover Blurb: Researching Lived Experience introduces an approach to qualitative research methodology in education and related fields that is distinct from traditional approaches derived from the behavioral or natural sciences—an approach rooted in the “everyday lived experience” of human beings in educational situations. Rather than relying on abstract generalizations and theories, van Manen offers an alternative that taps the unique nature of each human situation. The book offers detailed methodological explications and practical examples of hermeneutic-phenomenological inquiry. It shows how to orient oneself to human experience in education and how to construct a textual question which evokes a fundamental sense of wonder, and it provides a broad and systematic set of approaches for gaining experiential material that forms the basis for textual reflections. Van Manen also discusses the part played by language in educational research, and the importance of pursuing human science research critically as a semiotic writing practice. He focuses on the methodological function of anecdotal narrative in human science research, and offers methods for structuring the research text in relation to the particular kinds of questions being studied. Finally, van Manen argues that the choice of research method is itself a pedagogic commitment and that it shows how one stands in life as an educator.