“We still know very little about the nature of the interview as a communicative event. Worse yet, because the interview is an accepted speech event in our own native speech communities, we take for granted that we know what it is and what it produces” (Briggs, 1986).

“Interviews... uncover the ways in which the possibilities for self-representation are constrained by various contextual factors rather than being a matter of free choice” (Harwood & Petrić, 2012).


With the ubiquity of digital and networked technologies, how have and how might writing studies scholars integrate interviews-as-method into their research? What theoretical orientations and/or methodological approaches have scaffolded interviews? How might interviews be understood—as Theresa Lillis (2008) does with ethnography—as a triangulation of method, methodology, and “deep theorizing?” 

This collection will address these questions by offering theoretical and practical techniques for interviewing across media, time, space, and place. The collection will explore ongoing changes to institutional IRB protocols along with changes and increases in digital engagement with other humans due to COVID-19. Chapters will also examine the assumptions and affordances of video recording, audio capturing and captioning, text messaging, and other forms of interview-based data-collection approaches. We invite proposals for chapters that will interrogate issues of ethics vis-à-vis interviews and explore questions of researcher positionality, responsibility, and reciprocity.


We invite proposals for chapters that respond to these issues and questions related to rhetoric and writing studies research and scholarship. We tentatively envision five sections for this collection:

Part I: Theorizing Interviewing
Theorizing interview approaches as method, methodology, and “deep theory”; framing methodological approaches or theoretical frameworks for interview-driven research; engaging researcher positionality and ethical stances for interview-driven studies.

Part II: Shaping and Preparing for Interviews
Addressing interviews both practically and theoretically; developing interview protocols; exploring the ways in which questions, scripts, and protocols change shape (or not) for interviews in digital contexts; contacting participants for interviews; interrogating issues of consent—from a policy-driven IRB understanding and from a more holistic, humanistic approach; software and tools for preparing for interviews.

Part III: Conducting Interviews
Addressing the medium of an interview; exploring practical takeaways for conducting interviews in a variety of mediums; examining how to ask questions orally, textually, gesturally, and through other means; using a variety of affordances to communicate, including emojis; sharing successful and failed interview experiences.

Part IV: Transcribing and Processing interviews
Exploring applications, tools, and approaches for transcribing, processing, and analyzing interview data; sitting with, and listening to, participant stories as an embodied researcher; strategies for listening and/or watchingrecorded interviews; selecting among techniques for qualitative coding (e.g., Strauss and Corbin, 1998; Geisler and Swartz, 2019) and systematic, detailed transcription (for example, see Gail Jefferson’s works [1973, 1974, 1978, 1979] and Prior [1998]).

Part V: Interpreting and Reporting Interview Data
Honoring participant voices and stories when presenting interview data; using visualizations to interpret and present interview data; transparency of interviewee meaning; approaching interviews as a site of generative, collaborative, shared knowledge production.

Questions of interest that cut across these sections could include:

  • How might Odell, Goswami, and Herrington’s (1983) pivotal discourse-based interview approach need to be updated in light of digital technologies and non-face-to-face interviewing contexts?
  • How do genre expectations of interviews influence interviewer and interviewee behaviors and exchanges?
  • How does medium shape interviewing techniques and strategies?
  • Who are exceptionally savvy and effective interviewers in the field and what can we learn from their example processes and work?
  • How do relationships between interviewee and interviewer change over time and with the accrual of multiple interviews?


August 15, 2021: 500-word proposals and 50-word bio due
October 1, 2021:
Acceptances and feedback from editors

March 1, 2022: Full chapter drafts due (4,000-6,000 words, APA references)
April 15, 2022: Feedback from editors

August 15, 2022: Revised chapters due
October 1, 2022: Manuscript submitted to press


If you have any questions or to submit your proposal, please contact either or both of us.

John Gallagher (johng@illinois.edu
Dànielle Nicole DeVoss (devossda@msu.edu)


Briggs, Charles L. (1986). Learning how to ask: A sociolinguistic appraisal of the role of the interview in social science research. Cambridge University Press.

Geisler, Cheryl, & Swarts, Jason. (2019). Coding streams of language. WAC Clearinghouse; University Press of Colorado

Harwood, Nigel, & Petrić, Bojana. (2012). Performance in the citing behavior of two student writers. Written Communication, 29, 55-103.

Jefferson, Gail. (1973). A case of precision timing in ordinary conversation: Overlapped tag-positioned address terms in closing sequences. Semiotica, 9(1), 47-96.

Jefferson, Gail. (1974). Error correction as an interactional resource. Language in Society, 3(2), 181-199.

Jefferson, Gail. (1978). Sequential aspects of storytelling in conversation. In J. Schenkein (Ed.), Studies in the organization of conversational interaction (pp. 219-248). Academic Press.

Jefferson, Gail. (1979). A technique for inviting laughter and its subsequent acceptance/declination. In G. Psathas (Ed.), Everyday language: Studies in ethnomethodology (pp. 79-96). Irvington Publishers.

Odell, Lee; Goswami, Dixie; & Herrington, Anne J. (1983). The discourse-based interview: A procedure for exploring tacit knowledge of writers in non-academic settings. In P. Mosenthal, L. Tamor, & Walmsley S. (Eds.), Research on writing: Principles and methods (pp. 220–236). Longman.

Lillis, Theresa. (2008). Ethnography as method, methodology, and “deep theorizing”: Closing the gap between text and context in academic writing research. Written Communication, 25(3), 353–388.

Prior, Paul. (1998). Writing/disciplinarity: A sociohistoric account of literate activity in the academy. Routledge.

Strauss, Anselm., & Corbin, Juliet. (1998). Basics of qualitative research: Techniques and procedures for developing grounded theory (2nd ed.). Sage.