An essentialist methodology in education-related research using in-depth interviews


This paper introduces a methodological approach in in-depth interview projects with adult subjects which (1) attempts to see the nature and essence of the phenomenon under study appearing in the experience and consciousness of each participant, and then (2) endeavours to obtain more general insights regarding the phenomenon by trying to see an essence when looking across cases. The approach uses microanalysis of and identification with prosodic and other dynamic features of discourse, and empathy with and compassion for the object of study (the person interviewed, his or her experience, and the overall story in relation to the problem). In addition, considerable effort is spent to shape what is felt to be 'the essence of the phenomenon' in a particular individual or case (or 'the essence of the phenomenon in that case'), and to use literary devices to communicate this essence to a reader in a portrait.

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Journal of Curriculum Studies