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Clean Language Interviewing: Making qualitative research interviews verifiable

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Chapter 3 examines how an interviewer’s use of linguistic structures, such as metaphor, presupposition and framing can unintentionally influence the content of an interviewee’s answers, and how that may compromise the authenticity and trustworthiness of the data collected (Lincoln & Guba, 1985). These concerns are addressed by a description of the Clean Language interview method, and a method for checking the validity of research interviews. Finally, there is a discussion of the relevance of Clean Language interviewing to tacit knowledge research.
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Masaryk University
Brno 2017
Edition: Education in theory and practice Volume 4
Chapter authors:
Vlastimil Švec (Chapter 6, 10, 11, Conclusion); James Lawley (Chapter 2, 3);
Jan Nehyba (Chapter 4, 5, 7, 9); Petr Svojanovský (Chapter 4, 5, 7); Radim Šíp
(Introduction, Chapter 1); Eva Minaříková (Chapter 6, 8, Summary); Blanka Pravdová
(Chapter 8); Barbora Šimůnková (Chapter 9); Jan Slavík (Introduction)
doc. PhDr. Vladimír Chrz, Ph.D., Institute of Psychology, Academy of Sciences
of the Czech Republic; prof. PhDr. Bronislava Kasáčová, Ph.D., Faculty of Education,
Matej Bel University Banská Bystrica
© 2017 Masarykova univerzita
Cover © 2017 Eva Šimonová, Jan Nehyba
ISBN 978-80-210-8605-0
ISBN 978-80-210-8428-5 (Czech ed.)
ISBN 978-80-210-8429-2 (Czech ed. online : pdf)
Third Chapter
James Lawley
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ird Chapter
James Lawley
Interview research in social science has been fraught with ataken-for-granted assumption
that interviews straightforwardly provide aresource in relation to participants’ experienc-
es, attitudes, beliefs, identities and orientations toward awide range of social and cultural
phenomena. is, in turn, has proliferated uncritical adoption of the interview in various
empirical studies and researchers have been overly reliant on asimplistic notion, ‘you ask,
they answer, and then you will know’.
(Cho, 2014, pp.42-43)
Particularly relevant to Cho’s critique above is the role played by the wording of ques-
tions in the interview process. Despite considerable evidence from avariety of sources
of the potential for unintended interviewer inuence (discussed below), little has been
written about the potential inuence of the researchers own naturally occurring meta-
phors (Tosey, 2015) or the eects of presupposition and framing. is is asurprising
omission given that questions are the sine qua non for conducting interviews, and
interviews are probably the most common technique for collecting data in qualitative
research (King, 2004).
is chapter examines how an interviewer’s use of linguistic structures, such as meta-
phor, presupposition and framing, can unintentionally inuence the content of an
interviewee’s answers, and how that may compromise the authenticity and trustwor-
thiness of the data collected (Lincoln & Guba, 1985). ese concerns are addressed by
adescription of the Clean Language interview method, and amethod for checking the
validity of research interviews. Finally, there is adiscussion of the relevance of Clean
Language interviewing to tacit knowledge research.
3.1 Interviewee biases
Anumber of interviewee biases that can inuence the question-response process
have been documented by Podsako and his colleagues (2003). For example: the
consistency eect is the tendency to answer in ways that are consistent with the ques-
tions; acquiescence bias is the tendency not to challenge an assumption implicit in
aquestion; and the friendliness eect is the tendency to answer how an interviewee
thinks the researcher wants them toanswer. In all three cases the interviewee may
Te x t
(unconsciously) look for cues from the interviewer about how to answer. In this way
the interviewee and researcher can unintentionally increase the chances of priming,
where the exposure to astimulus inuences alater response. Unconscious priming
eects can aect word choice long aer the words have been consciously forgotten
(Tulving et al., 1982).
3.2 Interviewer priming
Text books on interview technique refer to the need to minimise interviewer bias,
however, other than the ‘open/closed’ question distinction there is little about the po-
tential eect of linguistic structures on interviewees. More concerning is that several
leading books and papers on qualitative research give examples of interviews replete
with interviewer-introduced metaphors, and questions which could ‘lead the wit-
ness’—without any warning commentary. Below are just two of the dozens of exam-
ples Ihave gathered. e rst extract is from apublished paper on interview technique
(Englander, 2012, pp.31-33 with metaphors underlined):
Interviewer: How has this memory aected your life? What kind of impact has it had
on your life?
Interviewee: My dad’s girlfriend’s apartment or my grandmother? Both?
Interviewer: e rst memory. How has this impacted, what impact has it had on
your life?
Interviewee: … it denitely has avery large impact
e author of the paper raises some important points about descriptive phenom-
enological research interviews but does not mention that the interviewer’s use of the
metaphor impact three times in quick succession may have apriming eect. If there is
apossibility that the interviewees description “it denitely has avery large impact” has
been inuenced by the interviewer’s use of that metaphor three times in the previous
two questions, the veracity of any analysis or conclusions drawn from that statement
could be compromised.
Another paper, published by the UK’s National Institute for Health Research (Lacey
& Lu, 2009, p.45) gives sample transcripts of interviews to be analysed. One transcript
is of an interview with asecondary school teacher about her experience of returning
to work 14 months aer aheart attack. e transcript contains the following three
questions, asked one aer another (metaphors underlined):
Q: Was it hard to go back then?
Q: Doyou think it’s changed your outlook about the future?
Q: So your outlook is dierent?
In order to understand these questions, the interviewee must make sense of the
metaphors hard to go back and changed outlook, neither of which had appeared in the
transcript previously. Unless the questions are rejected outright, the syntax presup-
poses that going back is hard and that her outlook is changed/dierent. While the paper
explains how to analyse such transcripts, and notes the potential for inquirer biases
during the interpretation phase, at no time is the authenticity of the interviewee data
called into question. Given the tendency for consistency, acquiescence, friendliness
and priming eects to inuence the interviewee to answer within the frames presup-
posed by the questions, concern about the authenticity of the answers would have
been justied. Whether this particular interviewee would have given similar or dif-
ferent answers to questions without such framing will remain forever unknown, but
doubt remains.
Tosey (2011) gives adierent kind of example from apublished paper which examines
the nature of personal transformations experienced by mature students. e metaphor
of an edge (e.g. “edge of knowing”) is mentioned no fewer than one hundred and four
times in the paper, and yet not once does this metaphor appear in the interviewee data
cited. It requires avery detailed read of the paper to notice that edge is likely to be the
author’s metaphor and not the interviewee’s.
3.3 Why are interviewer-introduced metaphors so important?
Research by Lous and Palmer (1974) found that the way in which questions were
worded altered subjects’ memories of events they had witnessed. One experiment
showed that changing asingle word in aquestion could change the speed estima-
tions made by observers of avideo-recorded accident by up to 27%. More recently,
and using very dierent methods, ibodeau and Boroditsky (2011) changed asingle
metaphor in acrime report, crime as a virus or crime as a beast, and discovered that
this was enough to systemically inuence the way people reasoned about crime. ey
concluded, ‘even the subtlest instantiation of ametaphor (via asingle word) can have
apowerful inuence [and furthermore] the inuence of the metaphorical framing ef-
fect is covert: people donot recognize metaphors as inuential’. ‘People’ in the context
of this chapter includes both interviewer and interviewee.
Lous (1975) also showed that questions which falsely presupposed that an object or
event existed in alm, e.g. ‘Did the woman who was pushing the carriage cross into
the road?’ doubled the likelihood that the subject would later report having seen that
event, compared to if they had been asked ‘Did you see awoman pushing acarriage?’
and more than tripled the likelihood compared to the control group who were not
subject to either of the presupposition-laden questions.
3.4 Clean Language
If the inclusion of metaphors and presupposed ways of thinking are unintended and
mostly unconscious (Lako & Johnson, 1999), is it possible to mitigate the potential
to produce data ‘contaminated’ by the interviewer’s linguistic structures? Counselling
psychologist David Grove (1989) found away to keep his metaphors and constructs
out of his therapeutic interviews with severely traumatised clients. Grove called his
approach Clean Language. Over the last 20 years Clean Language has migrated out
of therapy and into the world of business (Doyle, Tosey & Walker, 2010; Martin 1999;
Martin & Sullivan, 2007), education (Gröppel-Wegener, 2015; McCracken, 2016;
Nixon & Walker 2009; Nixon, 2013), and qualitative research (detailed below).
By paying careful attention to the language they use, researchers can minimise unde-
sired inuence and unintended bias during all stages of research—design, data gath-
ering, analysis and reporting (Van Helsdingen & Lawley, 2012). In particular, Clean
Language can rene interviewing by minimising the introduction of researchers’ met-
aphors and constructs (Tosey et al., 2014). is is not to suggest that the interviewer
who uses Clean Language is not inuential. Clean Language aims to minimise the
co-construction of the content while at the same time recognising that the interviewer
plays asignicant role in the co-construction of the process through directing the
interviewee’s attention to certain aspects of his or her experience (Tosey, 2015).
Owen (1996) was the rst to see the value of phenomenological interviewers adopt-
ing Groves questions and since then the technique has been employed in research as
varied as:
Iranian students’ metaphors for their teachers (Akbari, 2013)
Narratives of people who are living with the diagnosis of dementia (Calderwood,
ADutch case study on the role of knowledge in ood protection (Janssen et al., 2014)
How older workers in the re and rescue service deal with work-life balance issues as
they plan for, approach and transition through retirement (Pickerden, 2013)
Experiences of members of the Ulster Defence Regiment in Belfast, Northern Ireland
(Snoddon, 2005)
3.5 Need for acleanness’ rating
Researchers must demonstrate the quality of their work in ways that are commensurate
with their assumptions about their use of interviews.
(Roulston, 2010, p.199)
Even if an interviewer plans to closely follow Clean Language protocol, this addresses
only half the problem. Given the tendency for interviewer metaphors and constructs
to enter the interview unplanned, how dowe know what actually happens? Current
quantitative research papers describe measures that ensure the analysis of interview
data is robust, but very little is written about applying validity criteria to the interview
process itself.
To verify whether interviewers using Clean Language remain faithful to their method,
the author has devised acleanness rating’ (Lawley, 2010; Lawley & Linder-Pelz, 2016).
Every question or statement by the interviewer is allocated to one of ve categories:
Classically clean—drawn from the standard Clean Language question set (Lawley
& Tompkins, 2000) or repeating only the interviewee’s words.89
Contextually clean—only introduces ‘neutral’ words based on the context of the re-
search or logic inherent in the interviewees information.
Mildly leading—introduces words with the potential to lead but with no discernible
eect on the interviewee’s answers.
Strongly leading—introduces words, especially metaphors, presuppositions, frames
or opinions that could cast doubt on the authorship of interviewee answers.
Other—comments outside of the interview content, e.g., about the process of the
interview or answering apractical question from the interviewee.
e results of the line-by-line analysis are tabulated and used to arrive at asummary
assessment of the ‘cleanness’ of each interview. While the goal may be to remain 100%
clean’ in an interview, there are other factors which can make this almost impossible.
However, to see what happens in practice the author combined the results from the
ratings of 15 interviews (875 interviewer questions/statements) conducted by three in-
terviewers experienced in the use of Clean Language during three separate published
research projects. Table 1 shows that on average, ve (out of 58) of the interviewers’
questions or comments were assessed as ‘mildly leading’ and just one was classied as
strongly leading’.
89 85% of questions in six Work-Life Balance interviews made use of the following classic Clean
Language questions, (Tosey, Lawley & Meese, 2014):
And what kind of ...? And where/whereabouts is …
And is there anything else about … And how doyou know …
And that’s … like what? And when … what happens to …?
And is there arelationship between … and …
And is … the same or dierent as …
And then what happens? And what happens next?
And where did … come from? And what happens just before …
Note: ‘’ indicates the interviewee‘s words.
Table 1
Average cleanness ratings for 15 interviews using Clean Language
Classication of Interviewer
Average number of questions/statements
per interview
Classically clean 35 60 %
Contextually clean 15 25 %
Mildly leading 5 9 %
Strongly leading 1 2 %
Other 2 4 %
TOTALS 58 100 %
When there are only one or two strongly leading questions in an interview, it is possi-
ble to exclude aportion of the interviewees answers from the analysis while retaining
the majority of the data. As the number of leading questions and statements increases,
the delity and value of the interview data becomes more and more debatable.
Asystematic study of the cleanness of Clean Language interviews compared to tradi-
tional interviews is forthcoming. In the meantime, even acursory review of ‘model’
interview samples (in text books and academic papers on qualitative research tech-
niques) provides evidence for the hypothesis that traditional interviews are more
likely to introduce content and lead by presupposition. Given that, ‘the goal of any
qualitative research interview is to see the research topic from the perspective of
the interviewee, and to understand how and why they come to have this particular
perspective’ (King, 2004), the widespread use of unintended leading questions and
the imposition of content casts doubts on the validity of results obtained from such
3.6 Other features of Clean Language interviewing
In addition to the mechanics of minimising the introduction of interviewer meta-
phors and presupposition, proponents of the Clean Language method maintain that
it has two additional features. It is ideal for researching interviewees’ metaphors and
mental models; and it has the potential to gather in-depth data more eectively than
traditional methods.
3.6.1 Researching metaphors and mental models
e claim that Clean Language is particularly useful for researching autogenic meta-
phors and mental models is supported by anumber of studies (Cairns-Lee, 2015;
Linder-Pelz & Lawley, 2015; Tosey, et. al., 2014).
Tosey (2015, p.203) was impressed by Clean Language’s ‘potential for research due to
its systematic and rigorous way of exploring, and maintaining delity to, apersons
own inner world’. Since the adherence to Clean Language prevents interviewers from
introducing their metaphors into the conversation, the data analyst and end user can
be assured that all quoted metaphors are generated by the interviewee.
3.6.2 Gather in-depth data
Because aClean Language interview is centred entirely on the interviewees descrip-
tions, using only his or her lexicon, the interviewee is more likely to become self-
reective and enquiring of the workings of his or her subjective experience. Astudy
of the metaphors of managers on their perceptions of their ‘work-life balance’ showed
amuch richer description of their experience than the conventional ‘balance’ meta-
phor might suggest (Tosey et al., 2014):
Two halves of acircle.
Going up amountain dodging boulders.
Asplit and aswitch.
Juggling and aspinning top.
Riding on the crest of awave.
Physical and mental separation.
Adeal with abit of ex on both sides.
ese metaphors were accompanied by rich and detailed descriptions, both verbal
and visual (drawn). Interestingly, four of the six managers could recall their personal
metaphors in an informal follow-up three years later. (W. Sullivan, personal commu-
nication, 2 July 2013).
In another study, Lloyd (2011) compared the number of ‘meaning units’ provided by
the interviewee in interviews using Clean Language and in interviews using atradi-
tional interview technique. Lloyd found the average number of meaning units from
aClean Language question was close to ve, while an equivalent traditional-style
interview produced fewer than two meaning units per question. While the author
acknowledges anumber of possible aws in the data analysis, it does suggest auseful
direction for future research.
3.7 Tacit knowledge research
Tacit knowledge is by denition hard to access and dicult to articulate. is poses
real challenges for an interviewer. Clean Language can assist in this endeavour in sev-
eral ways. First, it is dicult for an interviewee to access tacit knowledge even under
the best circumstances, and the addition of an interviewer’s unintended constructs
is liable to complicate the situation. Second, almost any attempt by an interviewee to
express tacit knowledge will require the use of metaphor (see Chapter 2 on Embodied
Metaphor). ird, in struggling to access and articulate their experience, interviewees
may unconsciously look to the interviewer for suggestions and hints, which, if pro-
vided, would compromise the authenticity of the account. For these reasons, the use
of Clean Language interviewing has the capacity to provide high-quality and veriable
data for qualitative research projects—such as those involving tacit knowledge.
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... Below we present a new third-person method of validating second-person interviews by evaluating the relationship between the content provided by the interviewee and the questions asked by the interviewer. The method uses a Cleanness Rating (Lawley, 2017;Tosey, Lawley and Meese, 2014) which assesses the extent to which the interviewer uses clean rather than leading questions. Although methods for assessing the reliability of answers can be used in conjunction with the Cleanness Rating, it is important to note that the method does not guarantee the reliability of answers since it is a measure of what the interviewer does. ...
... Cleanness Rating definitions (afterLawley, 2017). ...
This article reports on Clean Language Interviewing (CLI), a rigorous, recently developed 'content-empty' (non-leading) approach to second-person interviewing in the science of consciousness. Also presented is a new systematic third-person method of validation that evaluates the questions and other verbal interventions by the interviewer to produce an adherence-to-method or 'cleanness' rating. A review of 19 interviews from five research studies provides a benchmark for interviewers seeking to minimize leading questions. The inter-rater reliability analysis demonstrates substantial agreement among raters with an average intraclass correlation coefficient of 0.72 (95% CI). We propose that this method of validation is applicable not only to CLI but to second-person interviews more generally.
... Of the leading interventions, 10% were assessed as mildly leading and 2% strongly leading. The proportion of clean to leading cited here is compatible with the proportions obtained in other research using well-trained clean language interviewers (Lawley, 2017;Linder-Pelz & Lawley, 2015;Nehyba & Svojanovský, 2017;Tosey et al., 2014). ...
Interviewing is the most frequently used qualitative research method for gathering data. Although interviews vary across different epistemological perspectives, questions are central to all interviewing genres. This article focuses on the potential for the wording of interview questions to lead and unduly influence, or bias, the interviewee’s responses. This underacknowledged phenomenon affects the trustworthiness of findings and has implications for knowledge claims made by researchers, particularly in research that aims to elicit interviewees’ subjective experience. We highlight the problem of the influence of interview questions on data; provide a typology of how interview questions can lead responses; and present a method, the “cleanness rating,” that facilitates reflexivity by enabling researchers to review and assess the influence of their interview questions. This clarifies the researcher’s role in the production of interview data and contributes to methodological transparency.
... Although approaches based on Clean Language were originally used in therapy (Hyer & Brandsma, 1997;Lawley & Manea, 2017;Owen, 1989;Pincus & Sheikh, 2011;Rees & Manea, 2016), they have also proven their efficacy in coaching (Doyle & McDowall, 2015), education (Groppel-Wegener, 2015;Nixon & Walker, 2009a), organisations (Barner, 2008;Martin & Sullivan, 2007;Nixon & Walker, 2009b;Robinson, 2013), and more recently as a qualitative research methodology (Cairns-Lee, 2015;Lawley, 2017;Lawley & Linder-Pelz, 2016;Linder-Pelz & Lawley, 2015;Nehyba & Svojanovský, 2017;Tosey, et al., 2014). ...
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Introduction: This paper compares and analyses Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT) through the paradigm of Clean Language and Symbolic Modelling at three levels: intention, process and practice. Objectives: The aim is to identify specific similarities and differences between the two approaches in order for practitioners of both to mutually benefit. Methods: A high-level comparison of SFBT and Symbolic Modelling approaches; a line-byline linguistic analysis of a representative SFBT transcript using models from Symbolic Modelling such as: ‘vectoring’, the Problem-Remedy-Outcome model and Clean Language; an examination of a sample of common Solution-Focus questions for metaphors, presupposition and ‘leading’ syntax, with alternative ‘cleaner’ versions provided. Results: Examples of similarities and differences between the two approaches at the level of intention, process and practice were identified. A selection of SFBT questions were modified to show how they could be cleaner, i.e. simpler, contain less therapist-introduced content (especially metaphors) and fewer leading presuppositions, giving the client a wider scope within which to answer. Areas of SFBT which could be given more attention in Symbolic Modelling were also identified. Conclusions: While Solution-Focused Brief Therapy and Symbolic Modelling have broadly similar aims, these are often achieved by quite different means. With minor modifications, some of the basic principles, process and practices of Clean Language could be incorporated into SolutionFocused Brief Therapy and some of the methods of SFBT could be given more attention in Symbolic Modelling, while preserving the unique nature of both.
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Objectives: This paper aims to contribute methodologically and substantively to understanding how coachees experience and evaluate coaching. First, we explore the use of ‘Clean Language’ as a phenomenological approach to coaching research, including the eliciting and analysing of data into findings and insights for coaches and coach trainers (Tosey et al., 2014, p.630). Second, we explore the nature of events, effects, evaluations and outcomes reported by coachees after a single coaching session. Design: Three coaches accredited in the same coaching methodology each delivered a single session to two randomly allocated coachees. The coachees were subsequently interviewed twice using Clean Language, in person two days after the coaching and by telephone two weeks later. Methodology: The transcribed follow-up interviews were analysed by an expert in Clean Language (the second author), using a form of thematic analysis within a realist/essentialist paradigm (Braun & Clarke, 2006, p.85). Findings: The interviews elicited detailed information on many aspects of coaching without the interviewer introducing any topics. Coachees’ events, effects and evaluations happened during the coaching session, between that session and the first interview, and during the two weeks between the first and second interviews. Coachees emphasised coaches’ style of repeating back, pacing, setting goals and questioning, maintaining the focus of the session, confronting and challenging, as well as their responsiveness (or lack of it). Increased self-awareness was mentioned by all coachees. Outcomes occurring after the session were maintained two weeks later, at which time new outcomes were also reported. Conclusions: Clean Language Interviewing supplements and extends existing methods of phenomenological interviewing and data coding. The study yielded nuanced findings on the coach behaviours that led coachees to give favourable versus unfavourable evaluations, with implications for coaching psychologists with regard in particular to coaches’ ability to calibrate and respond to coachees’ ongoing evaluation of the coaching, the pace of the session and how the timing of coachees’ feedback affects the findings.
Technical Report
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This joint study by the Clean Change Company and the University of Surrey is the first funded research project to study Clean Language – an innovative communications and facilitation practice increasingly used in coaching, business consulting, organisation development, market research, and across the helping professions – as a research methodology. Specifically, the use of Clean Language in interviews with managers in order to generate insights into their experiences of `work-life balance’ was investigated. The findings will be of interest to industry researchers, academic researchers, Clean Language practitioners and people interested in understanding work-life balance.
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The Problem With the codification of leadership into frameworks, models, and theories that can be taught, leadership, an art that is essentially subjective, symbolic, and context-specific, is “translated into” an objective, pragmatic, and universal domain. Development can be elusive when approached from this universal perspective if external models distract leaders from exploring their own views and practices of leadership. The Solution This article explores the subjective and symbolic reality of those in leadership roles to discover what leaders can learn about their leadership and its development from awareness of their own mental models. These models are illuminated by an exploration of leaders’ naturally occurring metaphors and implicit leadership theories (ILTs) using clean language to acknowledge experience exactly as described while minimizing external influence or interpretation. The Stakeholders Leadership development practitioners can benefit from the innovative personalized approach to surfacing and exploring leaders’ own metaphors facilitated by clean language, offered in this article. Examples are given of the range of leadership metaphors surfaced with this method. Researchers can appreciate a novel approach to qualitative research interviewing and identify future research in surfacing ILTs through naturally occurring metaphor facilitated by clean language.
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How can older workers in the public sector maintain a satisfactory work life balance in the last ten or fifteen years of their career and into retirement? Organisational policies designed to support work life balance may help, but only if there is a corporate will to overcome prevailing internal culture, together with an understanding of the specific needs of older workers. Work life balance, which has gained importance over the past few decades, is defined here as the way in which individuals apportion time spent in their paid work with all of the other activities in their lives. Those approaching the end of their working lives come from a workaholic generation used to long hours as a way of showing loyalty to their employers, whereas their younger colleagues expect good work life balance as the norm. While the notion of work life balance for those who are no longer in paid work may seem strange, the way an individual plans for and controls the manner of their retirement may impact their well-being both before and after retirement. For many, retirement is no longer a single step from employment into non-employment; rather a phased reduction or sometimes ‘un-retirement’ and these changes may affect individual perceptions of their work life balance. This qualitative study, with uniformed and non-uniformed staff aged 45+ employed by a metropolitan Fire & Rescue Service, enabled participants to consider their work life balance issues; particularly whether there were any issues that were specific to that age cohort; and whether those issues might change as they moved towards and through retirement, although few had made detailed plans about their post-retirement lives. The effectiveness of organisational work life balance policies was found to be subject to the prevailing culture as well as pressures on the public sector to reduce staffing levels while maintaining front line services. The effects of the abolition of the Default Retirement Age and changes in the pension schemes have yet to be fully addressed by the organisation or individual employees.
In this article, interviewing from a descriptive, phenomenological, human scientific perspective is examined. Methodological issues are raised in relation to evaluative criteria as well as reflective matters that concern the phenomenological researcher. The data collection issues covered are 1) the selection of participants, 2) the number of participants in a study, 3) the interviewer and the questions, and 4) data collection procedures. Certain conclusions were drawn indicating that phenomenological research methods cannot be evaluated on the basis of an empiricist theory of science, but must be critiqued from within a phenomenological theory of science. Some reflective matters, experienced by the phenomenological researcher, are also elaborated upon.
Interest in the problem of method biases has a long history in the behavioral sciences. Despite this, a comprehensive summary of the potential sources of method biases and how to control for them does not exist. Therefore, the purpose of this article is to examine the extent to which method biases influence behavioral research results, identify potential sources of method biases, discuss the cognitive processes through which method biases influence responses to measures, evaluate the many different procedural and statistical techniques that can be used to control method biases, and provide recommendations for how to select appropriate procedural and statistical remedies for different types of research settings.
George Lakoff and Mark Johnson take on the daunting task of rebuilding Western philosophy in alignment with three fundamental lessons from cognitive science: The mind is inherently embodied, thought is mostly unconscious, and abstract concepts are largely metaphorical. Why so daunting? "Cognitive science--the empirical study of the mind--calls upon us to create a new, empirically responsible philosophy, a philosophy consistent with empirical discoveries about the nature of mind," they write. "A serious appreciation of cognitive science requires us to rethink philosophy from the beginning, in a way that would put it more in touch with the reality of how we think." In other words, no Platonic forms, no Cartesian mind-body duality, no Kantian pure logic. Even Noam Chomsky's generative linguistics is revealed under scrutiny to have substantial problems. Parts of Philosophy in the Flesh retrace the ground covered in the authors' earlier Metaphors We Live By , which revealed how we deal with abstract concepts through metaphor. (The previous sentence, for example, relies on the metaphors "Knowledge is a place" and "Knowing is seeing" to make its point.) Here they reveal the metaphorical underpinnings of basic philosophical concepts like time, causality--even morality--demonstrating how these metaphors are rooted in our embodied experiences. They repropose philosophy as an attempt to perfect such conceptual metaphors so that we can understand how our thought processes shape our experience; they even make a tentative effort toward rescuing spirituality from the heavy blows dealt by the disproving of the disembodied mind or "soul" by reimagining "transcendence" as "imaginative empathetic projection." Their source list is helpfully arranged by subject matter, making it easier to follow up on their citations. If you enjoyed the mental workout from Steven Pinker's How the Mind Works , Lakoff and Johnson will, to pursue the "Learning is exercise" metaphor, take you to the next level of training. --Ron Hogan Two leading thinkers offer a blueprint for a new philosophy. "Their ambition is massive, their argument important.…The authors engage in a sort of metaphorical genome project, attempting to delineate the genetic code of human thought." -The New York Times Book Review "This book will be an instant academic best-seller." -Mark Turner, University of Maryland This is philosophy as it has never been seen before. Lakoff and Johnson show that a philosophy responsible to the science of the mind offers a radically new and detailed understandings of what a person is. After first describing the philosophical stance that must follow from taking cognitive science seriously, they re-examine the basic concepts of the mind, time, causation, morality, and the self; then they rethink a host of philosophical traditions, from the classical Greeks through Kantian morality through modern analytical philosophy.