As qualitative interviewers, we know firsthand that the emotional labor of interviewing does not stop at the interview; rather, interviewers continue to carry the emotional labor as they “re-tell” interviewees’ stories with credibility and compassion. This research offers our autoethnographic reflections on conducting qualitative interviews with public service practitioners around topics of gender and motivation, relying on our observations and immersive experiences from interview research. Too often following interviews, we seem to ask ourselves “Where do we go from here?” as we struggle to make sense of stories from interviewees. We argue being prepared to embrace the emotional labor associated with qualitative research is necessary for producing meaningful qualitative work in public administration. Through vignettes of our own research experiences, this work helps to convey the powerful opportunities that qualitative research offers practitioners and scholars of public administration. We offer our experiences and coping strategies for fellow researchers as they engage in the emotional, intimate, and intense journey of conducting qualitative research. In doing so, we illustrate how embracing the emotional labor of interviewing can lead to liberatory and rich new understandings in researching a variety of contemporary issues in public administration.
- emotional labor
- qualitative research