10.1 – Sociality and negotiation in the research grid interview

Volume 10, Number 1, April 2022

Sociality and negotiation in the research grid interview
by Devi Jankowicz
Translation by Chiara Martinelli

When we use a grid to understand someone, we describe what we’re doing as eliciting constructs – using our expertise as if we were pulling teeth out of a person’s head. This image of a tooth available for extraction – something that is clearly there, distinct and separate, provides a metaphor inviting further discussion to avoid an oversimplification. A moment’s reflection on grid procedure indicates that something more subtle is going on: we are negotiating over meaning. This negotiation is an interactive process in which both parties, interviewer and interviewee, have to influence the other if their distinct aims are to be achieved. The interviewer’s careful management of sociality is essential if s/he is to do justice to the interviewee’s construing. Something similar happens in the relationship between the interviewer and the data obtained.

Keywords: research grids, sociality, negotiating meaning.