“He said, ‘I show that I want to learn and that I’m worth teaching. That I know
something, but not everything. So they can inform me, and I’ll understand’” (39).
The above quote is imperative in accessing the stories and information that the respondent has in an interview. I like the way Weiss frames the process as a teaching and learning experience because it places the authority with the respondent.
The discussion of whether or not to tape record the respondent is fascinating. I agree that taking notes seems less invasive on first glance but I think the act of watching someone writing while you are talking can be similarly distracting. Weiss points out that note taking also prevents the interviewer from preserving the idiosyncrasies of the of the respondent’s speech patterns, and specific language, which provide important clues in and of themselves especially when dealing with sensitive information. If the respondent and budget allow, it seems that tape recording is the best way to capture the interview because you can reference the respondent’s direct speech without having to sort through a second layer of the interviewer’s own lens. Obviously the interviewer drives and shapes the interview but by taking notes and choosing what and how to summarize the interviewer is taking on more influence and perhaps skewing the original data.