Watson C (2006) Unreliable narrators? ‘Inconsistency’ (and some inconstancy) in interviews. Qualitative Research, 6 (3), pp. 367-384. https://doi.org/10.1177/1468794106065008
ABSTRACT A potentially problematic aspect of the qualitative interview is the propensity towards tensions that emerge – ambiguities, inconsistencies, contradictions etc. – especially when transcripts are analysed. In this article, I draw on material from an interview in which the presence of contradictory data had surprising results, initially producing shock, but subsequently causing me to reflect on the ‘meaning’ inherent in these lapses of coherence. In so doing, I present a framework for analysis, based on Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe’s discourse theory, and suggest that narratives serve to construct the relational process of ‘identification with’ that links individuals to discourses. This framework enables a kind of situated reliability to emerge from the very aspects of the interview that may be held to be problematic in terms of our being ‘unreliable narrators’.
qualitative interview; narrative; ambiguity; discourse theory; identity,; Discourse analysis; Interviewing; Ambiguity
Qualitative Research: Volume 6, Issue 3