The Interview as Method: Doing Feminist Research


This case study sheds light on lessons learned from the perspective of a PhD candidate. Focusing on male primary teachers, this study explores how issues of masculinities are navigated and negotiated on a daily basis. Although limited research of masculinities has been conducted in educational contexts and settings in Ireland, previous studies show that teachers in Ireland were from middle-class sectors, with an over-representation of teachers from farming backgrounds. The aim of this research is to explore the everyday realities of masculinities for 11 male teachers. The method of inquiry is a tailored version of the long interview. Although the conduct of interviewing can seem deceptively simple, the interview has a long and troubled history in qualitative inquiry. Adding in feminism, critiqued for its political and interpretive frameworks, further highlights the troubled landscape of feminist interview research. This case study reviews the debate on feminism and its relevance to a study of men. Three rounds of interviews were conducted, whereby collaboration, reflexivity, and sample size were major considerations. This feminist research design advocates the value of the interview when theory is used along with data. It no longer places the researcher in the position of full authority. Instead, the researcher’s voice is placed beside that of the participants’, adding another layer to what has been documented, enriching possible interpretations. The goal of this case study is an honest, transparent, and uplifting account of the interview as method, which is useful for those embarking on their research journey.

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