Interviewing for Education and Social Science Research: The Gateway Approach

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Finalist for the 2010 "OUTSTANDING BOOK AWARD" from the American Educational Research Association's Qualitative SIG.

Interviewing for Education and Social Science Research offers a fresh approach to research, traversing the boundaries of human experience to bring to light matters of concern to education and social science researchers. This narrator-centered method, a by-product of the author's award-winning investigation into the aftermath of the Columbine tragedy, provides a means for researchers to access the often hidden human responses and perceptions so those who make decisions and write policy may become better informed about the true impact of their actions on the individuals involved.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Challenging enough to be of interest to faculty, yet readable enough to hold the attention of a graduate student, this work is an explanation of the methodology Mears used when conducting her American Educational Research Association award-winning dissertation research. Being of the Columbine parent community gave her insider status that allowed access and provided richness to her presentation...Mears leaves the reader shocked, wanting more, and above all fully understanding that this approach is not merely a novelty but an enormously useful, legitimate form of presentation." - Oral History Review

"A long-awaited book on doing interviewing in education and the social sciences is finally here.As a mainstay for master's thesis, dissertation, and grant research, Mears has brought us a sophisticated theoretical treatment to this art. The gateway approach, building on oral history and Eisner's connoisseurship and critical technique, offers a new model 'for crossing the boundary of cause and consequence' in research projects with helpful steps for the researcher.She connects 'the researcher, narrator, and reader' in a new way. Demonstrating the full treatment of this approach, Mears also brings a full ethical treatment and complete steps for IRB and Human Subject applications in this timely book.Helpful examples from her major research on the Columbine High School tragedy and other projects fill out this realistic approach to interviewing. A must buy for professors and researchers using this qualitative approach with their students and in their research projects." - Les Goodchild, Distinguished Professor of International and Comparative Education, University of Massachusetts, Boston, USA

"Well-written and full of useful examples, even the appendices are rich with information. Building upon previous work withnarrative representations of research, Mears further develops and refines procedures for working with interview transcripts in ways that stay grounded in people's words while editing and shaping to reveal the essences of stories and their evocative powers. Examples from her own interviews with parents of students at Columbine pull the reader in and haunt with images and feelings when pages are closed.I recommend this book for all working to fully understand their research subjects." - Corrine Glesne, author of Becoming Qualitative Researchers (2011)

"Based on her own dissertation work for which she won several awards from the American Educational Research Association, Mears' book informs readers about a number of important topics including a presentation of conceptual and practical issues related to interviewing. . . . While the gateway method is highly useful for researchers inquiring into tragic situations, it is also valuable for researchingsensitive issues (e.g., issues of race, gender, sexual orientation) and routine matters as well. Novice and experienced researchers will find this book innovative, insightful, and practical." - P. Bruce Uhrmacher, Professor of Education, University of Denver, USA

"The Gateway Approach is an invaluable resource for oral historians and oral history educators. Mears' step-by-step methods of in-depth interviewing, analysis, and editing offer a unique means by which to disseminate the essence of a recalled experience in a powerful way by honoring, above all, the narrator's voice and word choice. Her commitment to collaboration takes Frisch's "shared authority" to the next level by asking the researcher to go beyond documentation and data analysis and continue to work with the narrator to present the material to a wider audience in a clear and meaningful way." - Erin McCarthy, Professor of History, Columbia College Chicago, USA

"Mears introduces a fresh approach to in-depth interviewing and she has a wealth of experience to contribute to the field. . . . Mears is an excellent writer and thinker, and the awards she has received for her work are testimony to the quality she brings to this project. This book is very timely." - Karen Tonso, Associate Professor of Education, Wayne State University, USA

"In Interviewing for Education and Social Science Research: The Gateway Approach, Carolyn Lunsford Mears outlines an approach to in-depth interviewing in qualitative research that draws upon educational criticism, oral history, and poetic display. Mears describes this narrator-centered approach as including the development of an insider's perspective and the use of exerpted narratives. She also provides useful guides and examples in the appendices to the book, making the text especially helpful to the novice qualitative researcher." - The Weekly Qualitative Report

"Interviewing for Education and Social Science Research provides a radical, new, and exciting way to connect to and represent participants and their experiences in our write up of their data. This book should be read widely amongst undergraduates, postgraduates, and new and experienced researchers to instil or remind them about the impact and importance of passionate scholarship." - Oral History

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780230612372
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Publication date: 7/15/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Carolyn Lunsford Mears is an award-winning author, researcher, and presenter. She is Research Fellow at the University of Denver, USA, Fellow of the Planned Environment Therapy Trust Archives in the UK, a Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts, Alliance Member of National Centre for Therapeutic Care, and board member of a variety of educational organizations. Mears developed the research model described in this volume for her Columbine study, which was recognized by the American Educational Research Association (AERA) for its methodological significance and contribution to the field of qualitative inquiry.

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Table of Contents

1.Origins of the Approach
2.The Nature of Interview Research
3.Ethical Research Practice–Doing What's Right
4.Foundations for a Gateway
5.Preparing for the Research
6.Conducting the Interview
7.Learning from the Data
8.Through the Gateway

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