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Journal Article

The lived experience of remembering a ‘good’ interview: Micro-phenomenology applied to itself


Heimann,  Katrin       
Department of Music, Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics, Max Planck Society;
Interacting Minds Center, Aarhus University;

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Heimann, K., Boelsbjerg, H. B., Allen, C., van Beek, M., Suhr, C., Lübbert, A., et al. (2022). The lived experience of remembering a ‘good’ interview: Micro-phenomenology applied to itself. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences. doi:10.1007/s11097-022-09844-4.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-000B-4853-7
Micro-phenomenology is an interview and analysis method for investigating subjective experience. As a research tool, it provides detailed descriptions of brief moments of any type of subjective experience and offers techniques for systematically comparing them. In this article, we use an auto-ethnographic approach to present and explore the method. The reader is invited to observe a dialogue between two authors that illustrates and comments on the planning, conducting and analysis of a pilot series of five micro-phenomenological interviews. All these interviews asked experienced researchers of micro-phenomenology to browse their memories to identify one successful and one challenging instance of working with micro-phenomenology. The interview then focused on this reflective task to investigate whether applying the method to itself might reveal quality criteria. The article starts by presenting a shortened and edited version of the first of these interviews. Keeping the dialogue format, we then outline the micro-phenomenological analysis procedure by demonstrating its application to part of this data and corresponding passages of other interviews. We focus on one unexpected finding: interviewed researchers judge the quality of an interview in part based on a connection or contact between interviewer and interviewee. We discuss these results in the context of the means and intentions of the method and suggest avenues for future research.