ACSPRI Conferences, RC33 Eighth International Conference on Social Science Methodology

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The Longitudinal Qualitative Interview

Joseph C. Hermanowicz

Building: Law Building
Room: Breakout 9 - Law Building, Room 102
Date: 2012-07-11 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM
Last modified: 2011-12-01


Studies have emerged that use qualitative techniques to collect and analyze data on subjects followed over time. But due to the novelty and newness of this approach, a coherent methodology underlying longitudinal qualitative research (LQR) remains to be articulated.
This article focuses on one method of longitudinal qualitative research, the longitudinal qualitative interview (LQI), to flesh out the origins and epistemology of such interviewing. LQIs consist of interviews conducted with the same people over a period time sufficient to allow for the collection of data regarding specified conditions of change. LQIs are also an important means by which to study how people experience, interpret, and respond to change. The article illustrates the usage and utility of longitudinal qualitative interviews through an empirical example of research on occupational careers. LQIs underscore the place of process, causality, and micro-macro linkage in analytic explanation; in so doing, LQIs direct themselves profitably to research questions about individual, group, and/or societal development. The article suggests that, while the foundation of LQIs is traceable to a distant past, their robust application belongs to an as yet unrealized future.