Accomplishing "rapport" in qualitative research interviews: Empathic moments in interaction

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53 Scopus citations


This study seeks to bring a more interactionally grounded perspective to the concept of "rapport" and its relevance for qualitative interviewing practices. Building on work within conversation analysis (CA), it respecifies rapport as affiliation and, more specifically, empathy. Analysis centers on case study data from an interview with an asylum seeker from the Philippines. It examines how interviewer and interviewee move in and out of empathic moments across the interview sequences as they manage their affective stances related to the events the interviewee describes and, in turn, by managing their empathic alignments with each other. These empathic moments share a number of features: they primarily come after response delays and the interviewee's response pursuits, they are part of assessment sequences built by lexical reformulation and repetition, they entail stance matching and upgrading mainly through the use of prosodic resources, and they involve the interviewee asserting his primary rights to characterize and assess his own experiences. The article concludes by recommending more attention to the affiliative and empathic dimensions of qualitative interviewing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)487-511
Number of pages25
JournalApplied Linguistics Review
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 24 2018


  • conversation analysis
  • emotion
  • empathy
  • interviews
  • rapport

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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