Influence of researcher's social representations in analysis of interviews: a study in the field of special education
Keywords:Special Education, Social Representation, Analysis of Interview.
Social representations are values and ideas shared and transmitted by a group of individuals. This article aims to investigate how researchers’ social representations can influence their analysis of an interview. Data were collected from 28 students participating in a course on interview analysis. Students were divided into three groups. Each group received the same excerpt of a transcript, but with different characterizations of the interviewee: for Group 1, it was a young man who had studied in a public school; for Group 2, the subject had attended a special education school for people with intellectual disabilities; for Group 3, he had studied at a private school. The three groups were asked to analyze the interview and submit a written document describing their analysis. The data revealed that the students carried out interpretive synthesis, descriptive synthesis, and thematic analysis. Interpretations of content data indicated that participants in Groups 1 and 3 attributed negative representations to the interviewee and/or to public or private school. In contrast, participants in Group 2, which was told that the interviewee had intellectual disabilities, attributed positive representations to the interviewee and to the special education school. The conclusion indicates the urgency for theoretical and practical training of young researchers regarding analysis of interviews so that the representations do not lead to biased results. The comparison of the results with an earlier similar study points to a probable change in representations of people with intellectual disabilities.