I would like to use a couple of quotes from my interviewees (primary data) before the methodology and results section. Is there any hard and fast rule about not introducing research data before the methodology used for data collection is discussed?

In summary, can I use quotes from my interviewees in the introduction section to advance a point?

edit: I have permission from the interviewees to use quotations and approval from the University ethics committee to conduct research. My question is to do with methodology.


I have been working with qualitative (semi-structured) interviews for years and I read a lot of literature that uses such data. I am neither aware of any rule that prohibits or any convention that discourages quoting interview statements before the methodology section/chapter; nor could I see any reason for such a rule to exist. It makes sense to describe the methodology before the analysis and results sections, in which you will draw on your interviews most extensively, but individual interview quotes are not equal to "analysis" or "results". They are just that: Quotes. I would also add that a catchy interview quote can be a good way to introduce a paper/book or to illustrate an empirical result or theoretical conjecture.

  • 2
    This is very useful. Thank you. Yes, a catchy quote uttered by one of the interview participants that emphatically describes the actual problem that my research aims to solve is what I was looking to include.
    – AK16
    Jun 22 '20 at 16:08
  • 1
    Pretty sure I've seen that before. Go for it.
    – henning
    Jun 22 '20 at 16:16

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