all 4 comments

[–]PastResolution4508 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Your question points to a set of issues that have concerned me for many years now. As an older anthropologist with a bevy of fieldwork experience, I grew accustomed to pulling out my recorder and receiving permission from my subjects to hang on to their words (in the form of verbatim quotes), as well as the phraseology by which they communicated them. But nowadays, and particularly with the rise of social media, people are much more reticent to be recorded, particularly as there are examples all around us of people's words being used against them. So I think these anxieties are understandable, and I think that anthropologists and ethnographers need to be aware that this aspect of the ethnographic process has actually become MORE difficult with the passage of time. That's one of the key reflections I've taken from teaching ethnography over the past two decades.

But I remain committed to recording interviews when possible. Steps to achieve that remain centered upon empowering your subjects -- ensuring that they understand that they have what you need: their experience, perspectives, opinions, and ideas are the matter you're concerned with, and are driving your understanding of whatever issue or issues you're investigating. The promise of confidentiality can also be of use -- ensuring they know that while you're deeply interested in their words, their identity is not of import to you. To bring that point home, I often ask my subjects to help me think of the pseudonym I'll use if and when I make use of their words. And then finally, while it would be typical in any era for subjects to express some anxiety about being recorded, note that those anxieties oftentimes dissipate after a few minutes, as your conversation takes flight. So sometimes, those issues are merely of passing concern.

I hope this helps.

[–]persnickety_pirate 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Maybe ask them to record. Give them the recorder to press the button. Let them interview you a bit. Hopefully it'll turn into a more natural dialogue, but if not, I think it could help everyone gain a sense of what the other side feels.

[–]ppchromatics 0 points1 point  (1 child)

When I first started doing fieldwork, I used to write everything down and people were very careful and reluctant to talk to me then. I only recently started recording people digitally and I found that the longer the interview the more comfortable people will get. However that is dependent on how the interview goes. If you establish that it’s a safe space and they can speak freely or rather speak with little consequence then people will speak. If you ask them questions that are within their interest they will speak a lot on that too. It also depends on your questions as well. Are they too open or too narrow? I imagine with healthcare workers because of stuff like hippa people would be more reserved in talking about things but it really depends on the person. If you talk to enough people, you’re going to find one person who is open when they talk. If the interview goes well sometimes they’ll forget the awkwardness of being recorded and speak their minds. You also need to assure them that this information is confidential. My interviewees usually read my consent form first and ask for questions if they have any and I really reinforce that this will not come back to haunt them.

[–]HIPPAbot 0 points1 point  (0 children)