Lorena Frankenberg and José Carlos Lozano
Qualitative interviews, a methodology increasingly popular in media and communication studies, are not only useful for studying the meaning construction of different kinds of producers or audiences in the present. They are also useful for exploring past media experiences and for looking at the meaning and importance media had in the past for different types of publics by retrieving memories, feelings, and facts not taken into account in data collected by the media industries. To offer insight into the methodological issues and theoretical considerations media scholars need to address when using this technique, this chapter reports the use of focused interviews in a study on the screen culture of cinema-goers of Monterrey, Mexico, from the 1930s to the 1960s and discusses the methodological challenges of interpreting highly selective, subjective, and distorted-by-time memories of cinema-going in senior informants.
Most frequently during the history of media and communication research, qualitative interviews have been used not as the primary research method, but as one of a number of complementary strategies in participant observation projects, ethnographies, or case studies. Cantor (1971), Elliott (1972), Fishman (1980), Gans (1979), Lester (1975), and Tuchman (1978), who employed ...