The Practice of Returning to Research Participants: What Was It Like To Read Your Transcript?

By Jacinta Byrne-Doran.

Published by The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies in Communication

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Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper will explore the process of how the researcher returns to participants with their interview transcripts and the nature of this experience for research participants. Drawing on qualitative work with a small sample of 11 participants who were interviewed on two occasions during the research process, the paper will address this ‘turn to reflectivity’ undertaken within social science research (Giddens 1991, 18–22)(Etherington 2007, 601). In turn, the paper will explore the ethics behind the practice of returning transcripts to research participants. As a working methodology, the researcher will outline the process of briefing and debriefing research participants, the logistics of the second interview and the requirements of the transcription process. Furthermore, an exploration of participants’ experiences of reading their interview transcripts points to the relevance of this methodological approach in qualitative work. The paper will conclude that this methodological approach gives rise to a more three dimensional sociology that allows the ‘Sociological Imagination’ (Mills 1959, 195–226) to come to the fore.

Keywords: Qualitative Research, Returning Transcripts, Reflectivity, Participant Experiences

The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies in Communication, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp.23-33. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 309.423KB).

Dr. Jacinta Byrne-Doran

Lecturer in Psychology, School of Humanities, Department of Applied Arts, Waterford Institute of Technology, Waterford, Ireland

Jacinta Byrne-Doran has been employed at Waterford Institute of Technology since 1999. Jacinta’s previous employment included lecturing and training and independent consultancy in career guidance and counselling. At present, I am teaching on the Masters programme in Social Studies offered at Waterford Institute of Technology, Ireland and the undergraduate Psychology programme. I am involved in post graduate research supervision in the Social Sciences. Research interests lie in the areas of home education, the psychology of breastfeeding and in particular the area of maternal employment and work role conflict. Conference presentations in 2007 included both international and national presentations on “Home Education in Ireland” and “Analyses of the Healthy Organisation, Employment and Psychoanalytic Theory.” Membership of professional societies include graduate membership of The British Psychological Society and Full membership and Registration as a Counselling Psychologist with The Psychological Society of Ireland.