Husband G (2017) The Research Interview and Professional Learning. 3rd International ProPEL Conference, Linkoping, Sweden, 14.07.2017-16.07.2017.
This paper explores the complex relationship between researcher and respondent and their shared experiences through interaction in the interview processes. Ethical considerations related to the balance of power and potential for change in respondents professional actions and decisions post interview are discussed whilst problematizing the concept of truly informed consent.
The paper draws on the researchers experience of undertaking a qualitative based study founded in the principles of phenomenological hermeneutics (Gadamer, 1998; Heidegger, 1962). The research, which concluded successfully in 2016, investigated the impact that pedagogical training programmes had on respondents’ teaching practice and engagement with professional learning. All respondents were experienced lecturers working in the adult education sectors of Scotland and Wales (UK). Upon project conclusion, several respondents contacted the researcher to share their post interview experiences. The research was not designed to elicit change in respondents nor influence professional choice or practice. However, each communication received independently accredited participating in the research as the source for renewed interest and engagement in professional learning. Although research interviews becoming an enriching experience for respondents is a recorded phenomenon (Kvale, 1996), the ascribed effects were profound, potentially life changing, and not fully anticipated.
The paper explores important questions related to ethical considerations for researchers designing and undertaking interview based research and the potential for engagement in research interviews to be an enriching source and trigger for professional learning in practice.