Title

Social epistemology, caring, and qualitative field research: The challenges of testimony

Location

1048

Format Type

Paper

Format Type

Paper

Start Date

12-1-2017 3:40 PM

End Date

12-1-2017 5:00 PM

Abstract

While qualitative researches are expected to accept the truthfulness of participant interview testimony on face value, they often have little basis for gauging testimony trustworthiness of. Accordingly, this study addresses: a) under what epistemological conditions is interview testimony justified for researcher acceptance, and b) what epistemic and methodological considerations can researchers use to assess the trustworthiness of interview results. After 15 years of conducting educational studies with extensive interviewing, the first author increasingly realized that caring about those served by educational interventions led to higher levels of confidence in the testimony of program participants over program staff. Of concern was the potential for epistemic injustice to non-participant stakeholders. Further review of the epistemology and social sciences literature identified substantial theoretical work on testimony and its trustworthiness as far back as Kant. However, there has been little effort to summarize and disseminate the potential practical wisdom within this literature. Accordingly, this study reports on the epistemology and social science philosophy literature findings and relevant debates regarding testimony of relevance to qualitative researchers. This includes the “default rule of testimony“, competing reductionist and anti-reductionist conceptions of testimony, and potential considerations for qualitative researcher seeking to better conceptualize and examine respondent testimony.

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Jan 12th, 3:40 PM Jan 12th, 5:00 PM

Social epistemology, caring, and qualitative field research: The challenges of testimony

1048

While qualitative researches are expected to accept the truthfulness of participant interview testimony on face value, they often have little basis for gauging testimony trustworthiness of. Accordingly, this study addresses: a) under what epistemological conditions is interview testimony justified for researcher acceptance, and b) what epistemic and methodological considerations can researchers use to assess the trustworthiness of interview results. After 15 years of conducting educational studies with extensive interviewing, the first author increasingly realized that caring about those served by educational interventions led to higher levels of confidence in the testimony of program participants over program staff. Of concern was the potential for epistemic injustice to non-participant stakeholders. Further review of the epistemology and social sciences literature identified substantial theoretical work on testimony and its trustworthiness as far back as Kant. However, there has been little effort to summarize and disseminate the potential practical wisdom within this literature. Accordingly, this study reports on the epistemology and social science philosophy literature findings and relevant debates regarding testimony of relevance to qualitative researchers. This includes the “default rule of testimony“, competing reductionist and anti-reductionist conceptions of testimony, and potential considerations for qualitative researcher seeking to better conceptualize and examine respondent testimony.