The Sideshadow Interview: Illuminating Process

  • Rebecca Luce-Kapler Queen’s University


Drawing on the conception of the literary sideshadow, the author describes the development of a sideshadowing interview used to investigate the decision-making processes of writers in a research group. To prepare for the interview, the researcher reads and notates the text that she will discuss with the participant using a process of “close reading.” Sideshadowing interviews ask not only the “why” but also the “why not” and the “what if” questions, following a process of both prepared questions and conversational discovery. In the interpretation of a sideshadow interview, the researcher describes how this approach characterizes the complexity of a process. Furthermore, the researcher’s biases and influences became readily apparent through this analysis. The author suggests that her conception of the sideshadowing interview is a research technique that might offer useful data to qualitative researchers interested in exploring the nature of processes such as writing, reading, or teaching.