Indiana Reading Journal Volume 44 Issue 1 - Page 28

The Conversational Interview is an individualized list of semi-structured questions with suggested prompts for narrative texts, informational texts, and general reading. The authors of the tool encourage the modifications specific to the administration in each research setting.

Pitcher, et al. (2007) adapted the MRP by Gambrell, et al. (1995) in order to use the tool with adolescents. The Adolescent Motivation to Read Profile (AMRP) includes additional questions that consider technology and out-of-school literacies prevalent in the lives of adolescents. Questions from the AMRP determine what specific literacies motivate boys to engage in reading. Although the AMRP does include target teen participants rather than young children, the instrument invites opportunities to discuss varying perspectives of reading materials such as nontraditional texts and new literacies. The AMRP also includes an extension to the MRP emphasizing a comparison between school reading and home reading.

Both the Reading Survey and Conversational Interview of the Adolescent Motivation to Read Profile (Pitcher, et al., 2007) were administered to analyze the boys’ reading attitudes. The Reading Survey includes a likert test, which was administered in the first visit individually with each participant. The Conversational Interview offers questions that allowed for open responses from the boys in a child-friendly manner. The researcher slightly revised the semi structured questions to meet the needs of this study and its participants, dividing the Conversational Interview into several phases for multiple interview sessions and allowing for elaboration within each section of questions. Additional questions were supplemented in response to the boys’ described reading selections, specific to the interview setting. The researcher used semi-structured questions to guide the interview process in a most authentic way (Merriam, 2002), encouraging elaboration and individual response. Each of the interviews was 25 to 45 minutes in length, usually occurring weekly over the duration of twelve weeks. Although many interviews are much greater in length, the age of the participants was considered. The altered timeline gave valuable insight into phenomenological understanding as the boys met in smaller groups and even a few individual sessions. Over time, they grew comfortable with the researcher, looking forward to the regular visits and asking when the opportunity would come again.

The freedom of the club activities and the non-schoolish setting were positive factors in establishing this as the setting of the study. The researcher was able to gain permission to serve as a volunteer and was seen as a typical adult helper rather than a researcher or educator. This interpretive constructionist approach was used in the cultural arena of The Club to gain true perspectives and shared meanings of the participants (Rubin & Rubin, 2005). A deeper relationship was formed between the boys and researcher than that of an interviewer and interviewee. The approach of responsive interviewing allowed the research to “generate depth of understanding, rather than breadth” (Rubin & Rubin, 2005).

Twelve weeks of observations and interview sessions provided rich qualitative data that captured the boys’ reading attitudes. The use of two major sources of data collection, the Reading Survey and the Conversational Interview, strengthened the research through triangulation of data. Although “Objective reality can never be captured,” (Denzin & Lincoln, 2005, p. 5) triangulation of data through interviews and the survey strengthened the study while maintaining the authenticity of the boys’ responses (Denzin & Lincoln, 2005; Merriam, 2002).

Conversations

The sessions often began with a series of consistent questions including “What did you read today?” and “What have you been reading lately?” Soon understanding that the conversations all focused on reading, one particular boy often began the focus group with a positive statement about reading such as, “I like reading,” or “Reading is fun.” The responses in the first visits indicated that the boys wanted to provide the right answer or one that was better suited to an academic setting.

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