This introductory chapter describes the semi-structured interview, which addresses specific dimensions of the research question while also allowing for study participants to offer new meanings to the topic of study. It is particularly instrumental in creating openings for a narrative to unfold, while including questions informed by theory. It also leaves a space through which one might explore with participants the contextual influences evident in the narratives. To illustrate this methodological approach and philosophical orientation, the book provides a qualitative study focused on a particular social problem with a long history in education and psychology. Referred to throughout as “the desegregation study,” its inclusion is intended to illustrate in a concrete and detailed manner the use of the semi-structured interview within a multimethod qualitative study.
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