Chance and Risk of Qualitative Interview Methods in an International Comparison

Thursday, July 17, 2014: 9:30 AM
Room: Booth 51
Oral Presentation
Sang-hui NAM , Institute of Sociology, Chemnitz University, Chemnitz, Germany
The study aims to identify problems in conducting and interpreting qualitative interviews in an international comparison and present some solutions. With the help of new communication technology and increasing cross-border mobility, qualitative interviews enjoy favorable basic conditions. Methodological innovations and quality criteria lag still behind. Since foreign language and alien culture come into play, qualitative interviews need native speakers as interviewers or translators and, in the same vein, insiders as cooperation partners and co-interpreters. The study stresses that intervention of natives needs more reflection. Researchers should know in which context an insider is situated with regard to age, gender, classification, and social position in his or her own country. In addition, there are usually interest conflicts, perspective differences, trust or mistrust, power distance, and pre-knowledge between two countries. In the light of that, thoroughly planned pre-research for cross-border interviews is of great importance. In my study small experiments with interviews about “civil society” with German and Korean interviewees will be conducted. Questions about “global civil society,” “global values,” and “global discourse” will be asked first with insider’s intervention and secondly without. By comparing the two settings, results will show how intervention of an insider works in a qualitative interview and how to reduce one-sidedness, distortion, or misunderstandings.