Introduction to Themed Section 2: 'Interviews and Reading'

Shelley Trower, Graham Smith, Amy Tooth Murphy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Interviewing has become a major method in studies of reading, as in audience and reception studies more broadly, but it is rarely reflected upon beyond brief methodological discussions in individual articles and books. This Themed Section brings together a sample of recent and current projects which use interviews to investigate reading – including the reading of books, newspapers, and comics, in social and individual situations. It brings together different approaches to collecting and analysing readers' talk about reading, through a series of studies which foreground readers' narratives. To frame the articles historically and to draw out connections between them, this Introduction traces a history of investigating and interviewing ‘ordinary readers’ – and audiences more broadly – and considers some disciplinary contexts and methodological implications of this practice. It is not meant to be a comprehensive guide to the methodology of interviewing but rather a means of beginning to reflect on where we have been and are now with interviewing readers, and on the limitations and possibilities of talking about reading. We also argue that interviews have come to challenge disciplinary assumptions about reading and readers. Our overall aim is to encourage the examination of a single meeting point in the entangled interdisciplinarity of research into reading.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)510-529
Number of pages20
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - May 2019


  • Reading
  • Oral History
  • Interviewing
  • Book History
  • Methodology

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