Dialogic introspection—a method of investigating experience
pp. 167-190in: Human Arenas 1 (2), 2018.
Dialogic introspection is a research method that makes introspection, which was increasingly frowned upon after the emergence of behaviourism, usable again in a systematic and scientifically based form. It is a method used for the exploration of experience—of conscious inner processes (feelings, thoughts, intentions and ideas), regardless of whether they are current or remembered. The method is used not only for psychological, but also for socio-psychological and sociological issues, since social phenomena are also experienced. The method is based on the research methodology of Karl Bühler of the Würzburg School, and in addition to this, a group situation with 4–15 participants is used to explore more effectively the content and form of individual experiences. Dialogic introspection is anchored in Gerhard Kleining's qualitative-heuristic methodology. The advantages are that it can be carried out in a way that is uncomplicated and close to everyday life, and that it takes about 90–120 min for the data to be collected. The disadvantages are that it is language-heavy and that it presupposes an ability to introspect. After an explication of the concept of introspection and an overview of the history of scientific introspection, the method and the methodology on which it is based are presented and illustrated using the example of an investigation into people's experience of cars. Possible ways of testing using dialogic introspection are presented.