The Problem of Relevance in Thematically Oriented Biographical Interview: The Case of Oral History Interviews Cover Image

Problém relevance v tematicky orientovaném biografickém interview: případ orálněhistorických životopisných rozhovorů
The Problem of Relevance in Thematically Oriented Biographical Interview: The Case of Oral History Interviews

Author(s): Martin Hájek, Martin Havlík, Jiří Nekvapil
Subject(s): Social Sciences
Published by: Sociologický ústav AV ČR, v.v.i.
Keywords: qualitative methodology; biographical interview; narrative; relevance; hypothetical relevance; Alfred Schütz; oral history

Summary/Abstract: The thematically oriented biographical interview (TOBI) is a research tool used frequently in contemporary qualitative research. Compared to other interviewing techniques, its main advantage is its combination of a thematic focus and sensitivity to the perspective of the interviewee. The authors demonstrate that TOBI is made up of several constituents: first, it is a speech infrastructure (comprising a conversational and a narrative component), and second, it encompasses three kinds of relevance (biographical relevance, identity relevance and specific thematic relevance). The main part of the article is devoted to an analysis of the types and forms of relevance that occur in the corpus of oral history biographical interviews. The analysis shows that, contrary to the common effort of researchers to increase the significance of a respondent’s testimony by emphasising the specific thematic relevance, the biographical and identity relevances are equally important for successfully capturing the actor’s perspective and smoothly conducting a TOBI. In their explication of relevance and its forms the authors draw on the theory of relevance developed by Alfred Schütz.

  • Issue Year: 50/2014
  • Issue No: 01
  • Page Range: 29-56
  • Page Count: 28
  • Language: Czech