On qualitative interviews
In the three documentaries I’ve directed–all of them relying heavily on interviews–I’ve always prefered to have an interlocutor asking the questions to the subjects while I shoot video and just listen, instead of being an active participant in the interview as it might be the most typical approach for documentary directors. Furthermore I have always prefered for the interviewers to hold relaxed conversations with the subjects instead of rapid-fire question-answer sessions that are usually only good for three or four-second soundbites for the news. In this sense I feel like qualitative interviews have been a part of my creative and research process for a while now, which makes me think that they will undoubtedly be a part of my future research endeavors as well. I am however very interested in finding out how to convert these approaches into a written document instead of the audiovisual media I am obviously more comfortable with.
On ethnography and participant observation
I really like the scheme proposed of four possible levels of observation, ranging from the often unattainable extremes of the complete participant and complete observer; to the more achievable participant as observer and observer as participant dichotomy. As of right now though, the question of fieldwork is still up in te air for me. Which field should I focus on? Are online communities true fields to conduct research in? I personally think so, but I am always irritated by the mainstream notion of “true change, true relationships, true social value is found on the real world” as if online happenings were somehow outside of the so-called real world. The more I think about it, the more I feel like my research should focus on virtual fields, online communities, etc.