chapter 7 Telling about experiences in three-party survey interviews

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This paper analyzes cases in which respondents answered questions in semi-structured three-party interviews with consecutive stories about similar experiences. In each interview a researcher asked two respondents questions for a sociolinguistic survey. In particular, we investigate how the respondents tell “second stories” and interact with each other, while accommodating to the participatory framework of the survey interview. The analysis shows that “second stories” can contribute to the respondents’ mutual understanding and interpersonal involvement even in survey interviews despite differences between this genre and casual conversations. We demonstrate that the interaction during the “second stories” is qualitatively different from the direct verbal and nonverbal exchanges between the two respondents and the interviewer. Furthermore, the participatory framework of the interview discourse influenced the respondents’ strategies and story design in significant ways. For example, the respondents designed their stories so as to make them worth telling as answers to the interview question or as a contribution to the overall topic of the interview. We conclude that the interview participatory framework operates not as a static, restrictive rule, but rather as a resource that can be used in the talk-in-interaction.


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