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The Problem-Centred Interview

The Problem-Centred Interview

June 2012 | 216 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
This book provides the first English language account of the interview method known as the PCI. Offering a way of collecting knowledge by means of involving people actively in the research process, the interviewer takes the role of a well-informed traveller. With careful preparation and planning, the interviewer sets out with priorities and expectations, but the story the interviewer tells about his journey depends on the people encountered along the road.

Novice and experienced interview researchers across the social, educational and health sciences will find this an invaluable guide to conducting interviews.

Andreas Witzel is senior researcher (retired) at the University of Bremen and former director of the Bremen Archive for Life Course Research.

Herwig Reiter is senior researcher in the Department of Social Monitoring and Methodology of the German Youth Institute in Munich.

The Programme of the PCI
Preparing PCIs
Doing PCIs
Processing PCIs
Examples of Working with PCIs
A Final Note on PCI Errors and PitfallS

From underlying principles through procedures and techniques to analysis, conceptualisation, and the interface with other methods, this is the definitive foundational text for the PCI. Supported by exemplars and case studies, generously illustrated by informative learning aids, and with tips on pitfalls and troubleshooting, Witzel and Reiter provide readers with every resource to discover the power of this compelling method.
Nigel Fielding
University of Surrey

A method widely used in the German social sciences, this book is the first to bring the problem-centred interview (PCI) to the Anglo speaking world. This excellent and lucidly written book is a must for qualitative researchers and all those who see interviewing as a craft.
Julia Brannen
Thomas Coram Research Unit, Institute of Education

Within this technique the idea of producing knowledge as a joint effort of researchers and interview partners is systematically conceptualised. This is an excellent and highly accessible introduction to key aspects of interviewing and a practical guide for beginners and advanced researchers.
Gunter Mey
University of Applied Sciences Magdeburg-Stendal, Germany

Throughout this text, Witzel and Reiter articulate a rage of interesting and insightful issues, theoretical and practical, pertaining to PCI, backed up by their evident knowledge and expertise of both the literature and practice in the field of qualitative interviewing... Based on the evidence they provide from the outset and throughout the text, PCI may be considered a rich and intellectually challenging alternative to traditional forms of interviewing [which is] more appropriate for seasoned researchers, who have more experience and resources at their disposal, from which to fully engage with and benefit from this method.
Emma Smith

The book is reader-friendly, informative and compactly structured, and it provides comprehensive insight into principles and possible applications of PCIs. Beginners as well as experienced qualitative researchers will find useful ideas and suggestions for an advanced use of the PCI.
Dr. Emanuela Chiapparini
University of Zurich,

The authors, recognising that the Problem-centred Interview, (PCI) will be largely unfamiliar to English speaking readers, carefully introduce it by comparing and contrasting it with more established methods of qualitative research using interview. In doing this they cover both the theoretical underpinning and the practicalities of using these techniques, followed by an in-depth criticism of their limitations... I think that the PCI provides a rich and sophisticated resource for the experienced researcher and I look forward to seeing publications in English using it.
Clive Sims
Methodspace Book Reviews Group

The book is an excellent further development and a systematic and well-structured description and discussion of ‚problem-centred interviews.
Prof. Marianne Schmidt-Grunert
Hamburg University of Applied Sciences,

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ISBN: 9781849201001
ISBN: 9781849200998

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