Due to the nature of the interview subject, that the interviewees are asked to open up about something both personal and potentially sensitive, in addition to a researcher in the subject of psychology who could be assumed to be critical of things like religiosity, the interviewer had to make an effort to create a good atmosphere.
An interview situation where you have to give answers about your innermost thoughts, in a research context, together with a person who does not share so much, cannot be said to be a "normal" situation. A person can be assumed to perform at a lower level than otherwise. That would be understandable.
The interviewer made it effort for the interviewee to understand that the interviewer, if anything, actually had a positive bias. In other cases, it felt extra justified to highlight a critically researching stance.
On a few occasions during the interviews, for example when the respondent came in on how questioning academics have been to things like the New Age, it was felt justified to further highlight that the interviewer himself had a certain understanding and sympathy for the phenomenon. It could also be that the interviewer in vague terms told about his own background and commitment.
It is not possible to say to what extent the participants in the survey were representative of the population. This is also not the purpose of a qualitative interview study (ref). The informants exhibit both similarity and variation, which can say something interesting about the phenomenon. The fact that the proportions are fair is not decisive for this.
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