7.1 Discussion

 

Listening is an important skill for a researcher. With effective listening, we can gain insights into problems that others have missed. In this workshop, we are learning to listen – through interviews, surveys, and qualitative methods that help us to grapple with the true meaning of words. Listening is also an important skill for any Christian. God reaches out to us through his Word. How can we be better listeners?

Upon successful completion of this discussion, you will be able to:

Evaluate the importance of listening to life and research.

Consider how a researcher and Christian could improve their listening skill.

Background Information

  • ‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know’ (English Standard Version, 2016, Jeremiah 33:3).
  • When employing qualitative techniques like interviewing, it is critical we practice good listening skills. This means active listening.  The American Psychological Association’s dictionary defines active listening as:

“a psychotherapeutic technique in which the therapist listens to a client closely, asking questions as needed, in order to fully understand the content of the message and the depth of the client’s emotion. The therapist typically restates what has been said to ensure accurate understanding. Active listening is particularly associated with client-centered therapy.”

Like a therapist, researchers are trying to uncover what is sometimes hidden in someone’s words. This is also referred to as reflective listening because a good listener not only receives the words but also reflects them back to the interviewee. This helps with clarity, and it also makes the interviewee feel heard and respected, encouraging them to share more truth.

God’s instruction to the prophet Jeremiah in the above Bible verse was simple: Listen well and you will learn the truth. And not just any truth, but great unknowns. This is often our goal as researchers: To uncover hidden truths. But it requires the heart of a listener.

Instructions

Review the rubric to make sure you understand the criteria for earning your grade.

Review the background information provided above and seriously consider how it applies your skill in listening for the truth, whether it be from friends, family members, coworkers, or the Bible.

Access the discussion below and respond to the following questions:

How would you self-assess your own current listening skills? Are you a good listener? How so? Do you need to improve your listening skills? How so?

As researchers, what steps can we take to be more effective listeners?

7.1 Discussion

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