Building rapport with participants at the outset of an interview is a common goal for researchers. Creating rapport is critical for trustworthiness of interview data and for building a supportive environment for participants. This paper brings the research on memes together with elicitation techniques to present a novel approach to rapport-building in interviews through meme elicitation. Memes provide a focal point for shared attention and their humorous nature offers opportunities for light-hearted segue into deeper emotional discussions. Participants report finding the meme elicitation process an effective icebreaker and a meaningful entry point for discussions. Personal reflections and suggestions for ethically engaging with the process are presented.


interview techniques, meme elicitation, rapport-building

Author Bio(s)

Karen Julien is a doctoral candidate in the field of Cognition and Learning in the Faculty of Education at Brock University. Following careers in elementary and early childhood education, Karen began a career in research and returned to higher education. Karen’s areas of research interest include the role of emotion in academic writing, graduate students’ experiences in improving their academic writing, writing communities, trauma-informed pedagogies for higher education, culturally responsive and culturally sustaining pedagogies in higher education, engaging approaches to teaching research methods, and creating online learning communities. ORCiD 0000-0001-6462-3029 @KarenLJulien Please direct correspondence to karen.julien@brocku.ca.


I would like to extend thanks to the Brock Library Open Access Publishing Fund for their support. I would also like to thank my participants for their enthusiastic engagement with meme elicitation during my dissertation research.

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Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.







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