Refleksje metodyczne o wywiadach z urzędnikami w Łodzi w latach 1960-1961
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On the occasion of interviews concerning the professional career with a random sample of 525 office workers, six female interviewers prepared observation reports on the way the rapport was established, the behavior of respondents during the interviews and their reactions to the person of an interviewer as well as to particular questions. They also obtained from 125 respondents their free answers to the question: “What is sociology?” (It was explained to the respondents that the aim of this, research was to prepare a sociological work on the social position of office workers.) Using these materials the author (who herself was one of the six interviewers) presents, in an impressionistic manner, some of the obstacles and difficulties encountered most often in the milieu of office workers as well as the methods employed to surmount them. Following are the main factors making for insincerity, suspicion or even refusals to grant an interview on the part of respondents: 1° – a state of anxiety during the research period caused by the reorganization of the public administration and by ensuing dismissals of those office workers who did not possess required qualifications; 2° – reminiscences of the stalinist period prior to 1956; 3° – a way of viewing sociological researches as an activity closely connected with propaganda and current politics; 4° – a conviction that such researches are useless as they cannot contribute to the improvement of a low social position of office workers, underpayed and unjustly criticized as “bureaucrats”; 5° – an attitude of incertitude and a generalized fear towards superiors in the office. Among factors making for good rapport and sincerity in interviews, the following ones are distinguished: 1° – a customary politeness toward an unknown person appearing in the role of a visitor; 2° – a desire to make easier the work of interviewers who asked politely for an interview; 3° – popularity and notoriety of the professor directing the research; 4° — expectations that research results would contribute to the improvement of the social position of office workers. Two types of interviewers were distinguished according to the way they treated respondents and interviews: the one characterised by an emotional involvement with regard to the person interviewed, his/her personal problems, etc., and the other more impassible and oriented primarily to the correct fulfilment of instructions concerning the prescribed interviewing procedure.