Faculté des lettres et sciences humaines

The Social Dynamics of Social Science Research: Between Poetry and the Conveyer Belt

Abbey, Emily ; Zittoun, Tania

In: Qualitative Studies, 2010, vol. 1, no. 1, p. 2-17

This paper considers the semiotic organization of the research process in the social sciences. It offers a detailed analysis of the semiotic organization of a much used technique in the social sciences: the one-on-one non-directive interview. We consider how different signs might constrain the researcher’s thoughts and actions within the ongoing processes of interview dialogue. We are... Plus

Ajouter à la liste personnelle
    Summary
    This paper considers the semiotic organization of the research process in the social sciences. It offers a detailed analysis of the semiotic organization of a much used technique in the social sciences: the one-on-one non-directive interview. We consider how different signs might constrain the researcher’s thoughts and actions within the ongoing processes of interview dialogue. We are especially interested in different semiotic representations that may constrain the researcher’s understanding of his or her direct perception of phenomena: the researcher as a “poet” or as a “machine.” It is suggested that these notions may differentially constrain the researcher’s monitoring of the interaction with a participant, and that decisions in this monitoring process can have important implications for the ability of the interviewee to more fully express what it is he or she tries to communicate, and for the process of generating new knowledge. In conclusion, we suggest “poetic” and “mechanistic” approaches to the direct perception of phenomena, though distinct, may nonetheless be understood to complement one another.