The practice of returning to research participants: What was it like to read your transcript?

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This paper will explore the process of how the researcher returns to participants with their interview transcripts and the nature of this experience for research participants. Drawing on qualitative work with a small sample of 11 participants who were interviewed on two occasions during the research process, the paper will address this 'turn to reflectivity' undertaken within social science research (Giddens 1991, 18-22)(Etherington 2007, 601). In turn, the paper will explore the ethics behind the practice of returning transcripts to research participants. As a working methodology, the researcher will outline the process of briefing and debriefing research participants, the logistics of the second interview and the requirements of the transcription process. Furthermore, an exploration of participants' experiences of reading their interview transcripts points to the relevance of this methodological approach in qualitative work. The paper will conclude that this methodological approach gives rise to a more three dimensional sociology that allows the 'Sociological Imagination' (Mills 1959, 195-226) to come to the fore.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-33
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies in Communication
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Participant Experiences
  • Qualitative Research
  • Reflectivity
  • Returning Transcripts


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