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Thinking about Cross-Cultural Differences in Qualitative Interviewing: Practices for More Responsive and Trusting Encounters
Existing methodological efforts subsume the interview into broad epistemological abstractions, neglecting actual mechanics of the interview as practice, and dismiss linguistic and cultural asymmetry in the interview as a matter of (in)adequate resources. Reflecting on 24 semi-structured interviews exploring social media use among Hong Kong youth, this article develops a culturally sensitive approach that democratically exposes the way cultural norms surface in communication, using strategies which (a) transform the dialogical mechanics of an interview—reflecting back and encouraging; (b) transform the positionality of the researcher—building intersubjectivity and emotional rapport; (c) transform the context of the interview—making shifts in space, language, and presentation. In doing so, a culturally sensitive approach generates practical recommendations for (a) humanizing the researcher to dismantle power imbalances and social distances and (b) naturalizing the interview into a more conversational form, both of which combine to expose the cultural logics that govern action and interpretation whilst constructing results into intimate narratives of people’s life-worlds.
Qualitative Interview, Dialogue, Culture, Power Relations, Positionality, Intersubjectivity, Narrative Construction, East Asia
I express my gratitude to Matthew Chew and the Department of Sociology at Hong Kong Baptist University for hosting me as a Visiting Researcher, where part of this research was conducted. Thanks are also due to Zhiheng Chen and Julia Ma for their research assistance.
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Recommended APA Citation
Au, A. (2019). Thinking about Cross-Cultural Differences in Qualitative Interviewing: Practices for More Responsive and Trusting Encounters. The Qualitative Report, 24(1), 58-77. https://doi.org/10.46743/2160-3715/2019.3403
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