How can interview-based social science become more open?
Implementing open social science (OSS) innovations focuses in large part on showing more of the concrete evidence that underpins analysis of findings and researchers’ conclusions and arguments. Many commentators have cast doubt on how far OSS approaches can be applied in qualitative research, suggesting that only limited openness can be achieved, especially where a large part of the evidence-base comes from qualitative interviews. Some forms of interviews aiming to recover the ’life-world’ of interviewees as a whole, and as they see it, may be feasible to do on a fully ‘on the record’ basis where archiving of whole transcripts or recordings is feasible with the permission of interviewees. By contrast, for elite and specialized interviewing and conversations are ‘off the record’, then transcripts and recordings cannot be archived or shared with other researchers. However, most such interviews are now conducted on a ‘non-attributable’ basis where direct quotations are allowed so long as they are completely anonymized. With care, it may be feasible to achieve non-straightforward ways of archiving or allowing re-access to such materials. Finally, changes in interview technologies towards using digital methods have opened up new ways of conducting and making available interviewing that might begin to approximate systematic podcasting or video-casting interviews.
Thursday 1 December 2022