Arts and tricks of comprehensive interview

  • Vitor Sérgio Ferreira Universidade de Lisboa; Instituto de Ciências Sociais


The place that interviewing techniques came to occupy within social research is more relevant and differs substantially from the past. The success of more directive interviewing techniques among structural-functionalists paradigms has been followed by the use of more creative forms of interviewing. Among these, this article wants to highlight the comprehensive interview, a qualitative data collection technique that articulates traditional forms of semi-directive interview with interview techniques of a more ethnographic nature. The reason for this option is that comprehensive interviewing is the epistemological and technical culmination of the creativization process to which the use of the interviews has recently been subjected within social research. Interviewing is no longer meant as a neutral, standardized and impersonal technique of gathering information, but as the result of a composition (social and discursive) between two voices, in reciprocal dialogue from the positions that both parties occupy in the specific situation of the interview (of questioner and respondent). The application of the comprehensive interview presumes obtaining a kind of discourse that is more narrative than informative, resulting from the intersubjectivity developed between interviewee and interviewer. Such an exercise requires a creative posture on the part of the interviewer and improvisation in the conduct of the interview, requiring specific arts and tricks. To reflect on the interaction conditions of interviewing process as an exceptional communicative situation, and the respective effects on the production of knowledge and epistemology of social research, are the main objectives of this article.


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How to Cite
Ferreira, V. (2014). Arts and tricks of comprehensive interview . Saúde E Sociedade, 23(3), 979-992.