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Sensitizing questions: a method to facilitate analyzing the meaning of an utterance

Gillespie, Alex ORCID: 0000-0002-0162-1269 and Cornish, Flora ORCID: 0000-0002-3404-9385 (2014) Sensitizing questions: a method to facilitate analyzing the meaning of an utterance. Integrative Psychological and Behavioral Science, 48 (4). pp. 435-452. ISSN 1932-4502

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Identification Number: 10.1007/s12124-014-9265-3


Much social science research entails interpreting the meaning of utterances, that is, phrases spoken, written or gestured. But how should researchers interpret the meaning of such utterances? A recent surge of research, informed by dialogism, emphasizes the contextual, social and unfinished nature of meaning. The present article operationalizes dialogism theory into six 'sensitizing questions' which can guide analysis. The questions are: (1) What is the context? (2) What is the speaker doing? (3) Who is being addressed? (4) Who is doing the talking? (5) What future is constituted? (6) What are the responses? Each question (and 16 sub-questions) is illustrated by analyzing the potential meanings of a single utterance. The article is a contribution to the development of new forms of 'method' for interpretative qualitative research. These methods aid the 'human instrument' to become a sensitive, theoretically-informed, and accountable analyst.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2014 Springer Science and Business Media New York.
Divisions: Methodology
Psychological and Behavioural Science
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
Date Deposited: 24 Jun 2014 14:36
Last Modified: 05 Jun 2024 00:00

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