“Would You Decide to Keep the Power?”: Reflexivity on the Interviewer–Interpreter–Interviewee Triad in Interviews with Female Punjabi Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients

Tessa Sanderson, Kanta Kumar, Laura Serrant-Green


This article presents methodological reflections on the different streams of knowledge that are drawn upon during interpreted interviews and the shifts of power between (1) the interviewer, (2) the interpreter/co-researcher, and (3) the interviewee. Interpreters are increasingly seen as active agents in the interview process, and they act as cultural brokers. Interpretation by a nurse researcher introduces further challenges and benefits to the interview dynamic, which was explored through reflexive discussions with an independent researcher. These challenges include conducting interviews in a clinical setting, where the health professional–patient relationship remains active. A modified discourse analysis was used to examine the subject positioning in the interview situation and the power negotiations that ensued. The main conclusion that can be drawn from these reflexive accounts is that the use of different streams of knowledge (experiential, clinical, cultural, and academic) enhanced the interview interaction, and power relations were successfully negotiated to facilitate rapport and data collection. Reflexivity provides an important tool for identifying, and learning from, the challenges and benefits of working with an interpreter, who is also a co-researcher with multiple professional roles.

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