Respecifying Standardisation in Geographical Research: The Work of Street-Interviewing
In this article the problem of standardisation in geographical research is reviewed by focussing on one episode of standardised social scientific research, namely the street interview or respectively the face-to-face delivery of a questionnaire in a public space. The central aspect of the paper is a detailed inquiry into a corpus of video data showing researchers investigating how people perceive comfort in open urban spaces by means of a questionnaire used in ad hoc street interviews. Constitutive features of standardised interviewing are described by carefully examining the front end of a chosen interview. Using detailed transcriptions and video stills of this episode, the article shows how an interviewer establishes contact with passers-by and prepares to start asking questions. I argue that the analysis of interaction between interviewer and respondent are necessary to circumvent the qualitative/quantitative debate, and to understand social scientific and geographical cultures of measuring and standardisation.