Upward turning points and positive rapport-development across time in researcher - Participant relationships

Jane Margaret Pitts, E. Michell Miller-Dau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Some of the first, and potentially most important, steps that researchers must take in the field are those related to rapport development with their participants. Both novice and experienced field researchers negotiate the difficulties and mysteries of establishing and maintaining this rapport. In this research, it was our intention to disentangle the often puzzling rapport-building process. We contacted 16 field researchers with varying degrees of experience and asked them to detail their relational turning points with select participants. Using the Retrospective Interview Technique (RIT) as a narrative prompt we uncovered a pattern of rapport-building that took the shape of five semipermeable phases of researcher - participant rapport: Other-Orientation, Self-in-Relation to Other, Self-and-Other Linking, Interpersonal Connection, and Partnership. In this article we propose a preliminary stage model of rapport-building trajectories, and offer implications such a model might have for field researchers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)177-201
Number of pages25
JournalQualitative Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Fieldwork
  • Informant
  • Interview
  • Key participant
  • Rapport
  • Relationship trust
  • Turning points

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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