What does it mean to teach ‘interpretively’?

Jennifer Dodge, Richard Holtzman, Merlijn van Hulst, Dvora Yanow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


The ‘interpretive turn’ has gained traction as a research approach in recent decades in the empirical social sciences. While the contributions of interpretive research and interpretive research methods are clear, we wonder: Does an interpretive perspective lend itself to – or even demand – a particular style of teaching? The question was at the heart of a roundtable discussion we organised at the 2014 Interpretive Policy Analysis (IPA) International Conference. This essay reports on the contours of the discussion, with a focus on our reflections upon what it might mean to teach ‘interpretively’. Prior to outlining these, we introduce the defining characteristics of an interpretive perspective and describe our respective experiences and interests in this conversation. In the hope that this essay might constitute the beginning of a wider conversation, we close it with an invitation for others to respond.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-84
JournalLearning and Teaching: The International Journal of Higher Education in the Social Sciences
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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