This article deals with the challenges autobiographical recall processes present to validity of events and their dates in the collection of life histories in standardized interviews. Effective interviewing techniques should support the idiosyncratic cognitive structure and the reconstructive memory processes of autobiographical memory by allowing to flexibly explore the interconnections between memories. We describe the techniques and strategies of interviewing and data recording used in the German Life History Study, namely modularization, forward recall and single case data edition. We introduce TrueTales, a CATI- Program designed to support memory and communication in the interview, and results of its experimental evaluation. TrueTales personalizes instructions, questions and probes and permits controlled flexibility in dealing with individual biographies and recall strategies. Working with a calendar-based time-line, it yields more complete, consistent and valid event histories. Finally, we discuss implications for standardized interviewing practices and the concept of standardization.
Quality & Quantity – Springer Journals
Published: Sep 19, 2006
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