The listening guide: voice-centred-relational analysis of private subjectivities

Martina Hutton*, Charlotte Elizabeth Lystor

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: This paper focuses on the analytical importance of voice and the value of listening and representing voices in private contexts. It highlights the under-theorised position of relationality in family research. The paper introduces the listening guide as a unique analytical approach to sharpen researchers’ understanding of private experiences and articulations.

Design/methodology/approach: This is a conceptual and technical paper. It problematises voice, authority and analytical representation in the private location of family and examines how relational dynamics interact with the subtleties of voice in research. It also provides a practical illustration of the listening guide detailing how researchers can use this analytical approach.

Findings: The paper illustrates how the listening guide works as an analytical method, structured around four stages and applied to interview transcript excerpts.

Practical implications: The listening guide bridges private and public knowledge-making, by identifying competing voices and recognises relations of power in family research. It provides qualitative market researchers with an analytical tool to hear changes and continuities in participants’ sense of self over time.

Social implications: The paper highlights how peripheral voices and silence can be analytically surfaced in private domains. A variety of studies and data can be explored with this approach, however, research questions involving vulnerable or marginal experiences are particularly suitable.

Originality/value: The paper presents the listening guide as a novel analytic method for researching family life – one, which recovers the importance of voice and serves as a means to address the lack of debate on voice and authority in qualitative market research. It also highlights the under-theorised position of relationality in tracing the multiple subjectivities of research participants. It interrupts conventional qualitative analysis methods, directing attention away from conventional coding and towards listening as an alternative route to knowledge.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14-31
Number of pages18
JournalQualitative Market Research
Issue number1
Early online date17 Mar 2020
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jan 2021


  • voice
  • listening guide
  • relational
  • I-poems
  • voice-centred-relational-analysis
  • private subjectivities
  • qualitative data analysis

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