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Doing qualitative research differently : free association, narrative and the interview method /

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This is both a `how to' book and one that critically reviews many of the assumptions, claims and methods of qualitative research, proposing a radically new theorization of the subjects of research.Applying a psycho-social understanding of subjectivity to research practice involves conceptualising researcher and researched, as coproducers of meanings which are amalgams of unique biographies, socially available discourses and practices, and the dynamics, both conscious and unconscious, of the research relationship. The authors use the notion of the "defended subject" to indicate that people will defend themselves against any anxieties in the information people provide in a research context. To interpret interviewees' responses should entail developing a method in which narratives are central, as should a strategy of interpretation in which interviewees' free associations are given precedence over narrative coherence. The authors call this the free-association narrative interview.The authors follow this approach through the phases of empirical research practice: design, interviewing, data analysis, ethics, and generalisability. At each stage they use examples from their own research, and end with an extended case study which demonstrates the uses of the free-assocaition interview method in representing the richness, complexity and biographical uniqueness of the research subject.This will be an essential tool for students of qualitative research, but will also be of interest to experienced researchers who are open to doing qualitative research differently.

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