The Dilemma of Socrates’ Position: Interview Methods and Feminist Empirical Bioethics

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Michiel De Proost

De Proost, M. (2023). The Dilemma of Socrates’ Position: Interview Methods and Feminist Empirical Bioethics. The Qualitative Report, 28(7), 2095-2112.


There is a growing body of bioethics research that addresses the importance of adapting empirical, predominantly qualitative, methods to generate debate on ethical arguments. However, there is an absence of illustrative work examining how this could be realised from a feminist perspective. This article, seeking to address the research gap, examines interview methods through a reflexive lens. Drawing on the doctoral research I conducted through interviews with women who were interested in social egg freezing (i.e., healthy women freezing their eggs in anticipation of future infertility), I describe how I encountered a dilemma because of my gendered positionality and the intended Socratic method I had wanted to use. To handle the dilemma, I employed a combination of techniques for posing interview questions: descriptive questioning, Socratic dialogue, and an elicitation method. Based on my experiences of navigating these different methods through the interview process and discussing their effectiveness, I argue that there is value in overlapping different models of interviewing and thus contributing to greater critical reflexivity, an enhanced quality of data, and egalitarian research interactions. The article concludes with some suggestions for applying this fusion of interviewing approaches in future empirical bioethics research.

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The Qualitative Report