Documentary participants: making sense of accounts.

Four Dutch documentary participants have generously shared their experiences with me and my voice recorder. By using semi-structured interviews I invited them to talk about their experiences as they wished while making sure certain topics were addressed. But they were free to add other topics if they so desired. I interviewed them twice: the first time before or just after the premiere of their film, and again four to six months later, to see of there were any changes in their evaluation of the experience.I really enjoyed these conversations. But I then had to make sense of their accounts…

Well of course I first looked at what they told me about their experiences and tried to find what was most salient. Their experiences were at some points very different, and at some points quite similar. No, I am not going to give away much here… However, I also noticed how they talked about their experiences, how they took a certain position or expressed a certain approah. I tried to understand this by deconstructing the accounts and looking between the lines and at what they did not say, so to speak. An intersting approach that not everybody might like. But it created an opportunity to look beyond the surface.

Here, Joanne Martin’s article on how she herself deconstructed an account was very useful.


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