Reflexive advocacy: The role of the interviewer in presuppositional interviews in qualitative research




Presuppositional interview, qualitative research, trustworthiness, reflexivity


The presuppositional interview in qualitative research requires the researcher to be interviewed about their thoughts, assumptions, and presumptions about their research. Its purpose is to recognise the impact of our thoughts, feelings, and actions in the ways in which we, as the researcher, exists in the research process. In earlier papers, we have discussed the purpose of the presuppositional interview, however, there is little attention in the literature about the person who interviews the researcher about their research, the presuppositional interviewer. The purpose of this paper is to discuss this unique role because the function and conversational structure differs from other types of interviewing. We propose the role of the presuppositional interviewer role is a reflexive advocate, as their engagement is intentionally directed toward supporting the researcher to develop insights about themselves, in the context of their research. The interviewer has no part in the interpretation. Instead, they are engaging in an activity which promotes the need to support and celebrate curiosity, but that remains in the domain of the researcher. To achieve this, we discuss the role and purpose of the presuppositional interviewer and offer practical guidance as to how to interview with presuppositional purpose.



XXXX (2022). Being in the wood: Using a presuppositions interview in hermeneutic phenomenological research. Qualitative Research, 0(0).

Cope, D.G. (2014). Methods and meanings: credibility and trustworthiness of qualitative research. Oncol Nurs Forum, 41(1) pp.89-91.

Crowther, S., Ironside, P.M., Spence, D.G., & Smythe, L. (2017). Crafting Stories in Hermeneutic Phenomenology Research: A Methodological Device. Qualitative Health Research, 27, pp.826 - 835.

Denzin, N.K and Y. S. Lincoln (Eds.) (2018). Handbook of qualitative research (pp. 105–117). Sage Publications, Inc.

Dewey, J. (1938). Experience and Education. Toronto: Collier-MacMillan Canada Ltd.

Martinovic, D. McGinn, M.K. McQuirter Scott, R. Obradović-Ratković, S (2022). Conceptualising Generous Scholarship. Journal of Perspectives in Allied Academic Practice. 10 (1), pp. 42-53.

XXXX., (2020). Working with Me: Revisiting the Tutorial as Academic Care. Frontiers in Education, 5 (105), pp. 1-7.

Evans, K. R., & Gilbert, M. C. (2005). An introduction to integrative psychotherapy. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.

Finlay, L. (2002a). “Outing” the researcher: The provenance, principles and practice of reflexivity. Qualitative Health Research, 12(3), 531-545.

Finlay, L. (2002b). Negotiating the swamp: The opportunity and challenge of reflexivity in research practice. Qualitative Research, 2(2), 209-230.

Finlay, L., (2009). Ambiguous encounters: A relational approach to phenomenological research. Indo-Pacific Journal of Phenomenology, (9)1, pp 1-17.

Finlay, L., (2003). Phenomenology for therapists: Researching the lived world, Wiley-Blackwell.

Freeman, M. (2021). Five Threats to Phenomenology’s Distinctiveness. Qualitative Inquiry, 27(2), 276–282.

Di Cesare, D. (2012) Gadamer: A Philosophical Portrait (N. Keane, Trans.). Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

Guba, E. G., & Lincoln, Y. S. (1994). Competing paradigms in qualitative research. In N. K. Denzin & Y. Lincoln (Eds.) (2018), Handbook of qualitative research (pp. 105-117). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Halling, S. (2009). Intimacy, Transcendence and Psychology. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Halling, S., Lilleleht, E., Krycka, K. C., & Sayre, G. (2020). Vital Researcher Conversations: Pivoting Past Impasses in Qualitative Research. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 60(6), 889–907.

Heidegger, M. (1927). [2010]. Being and Time (J. Stambaugh Translation). Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.

Knowles, S.S. (2017). Communities practising generous scholarship: Cultures of collegiality in academic writing retreats’ in McDonald, J and Cater-Steel, A (eds), Implementing communities of practice in higher education (pp 53–80). Springer.

Kvale, S. and Brinkmann, S. (2009). InterViews: Learning the Craft of Qualitative Research Interviewing. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.

Lincoln, Y.S. and Guba, E.G. (1985). Naturalistic inquiry. California: Sage Publications.

Polit, D.F. and Beck, C.T. (2014). Essentials of nursing research: Appraising evidence for nursing practice (8th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Wolters Kluwer/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Rogers, C.R. (1951). Client-centered Therapy. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

Rogers, C. R. & Freiberg, H. J. (1994). Freedom to learn (3rd ed.). Merrill/Macmillan College Publishing Co.

Rolls, L. and Relf, M. (2006). Bracketing interviews: addressing methodological challenges in qualitative interviewing in bereavement and palliative care. Mortality, 11(3): 286–305.

Spence, D.G. (2017). Supervising for robust hermeneutic phenomenology: reflexive engagement within horizons of understanding. Qualitative Health Research, 27(6): 836-842.

XXXX (in Press). The presuppositional interview as a means of transparent reflexive practice in grounded theory. Methodological Innovations.





Reflective Analysis Papers