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Interviewing—owl
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Interviewing—owl

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  • This presentation is designed to teach students techniques and etiquette for effective interviewing when conducting field research for their classes. Updating authors: Derek Laan, Steven Lee, Tori Talsma, and Karla Walther, 2007. Copyright Purdue Writing Lab, 2007.
  • This screen provides an overview of the major points for discussion in this presentation.
  • This screen emphasizes the importance of etiquette in the interviewing process. Remind students that the more polite and thoughtful they are, the more their interviewee will be willing to help them.
  • This point in the presentation can be a good time to stop and brainstorm possible questions with your students.
  • This screen provides more brainstorming material.
  • It’s worthwhile to remind your students here that details like pens that work and well-sharpened pencils can make the difference between a successful interview and an unsuccessful one. This screen is also a good place to discuss the ethical obligations that the interviewer has to the interviewee.
  • Online interviewing is becoming an increasingly common form of field research, but students must remember that they still owe it to their interviewee to ask in advance and to indicate the nature and scope of the interview. Instructors may wish to use the Purdue OWL PowerPoint presentation on email etiquette as a supplement to this presentation if they are encouraging email interviews.
  • Instructors should remind their students of the importance of courtesy. This screen can also afford an opportunity to comment on the importance of verification for academic research.
  • Transcript

    • 1. Field Research: Conducting an Interview A workshop brought to you by the Purdue University Writing Lab
    • 2. Outline: How to Conduct an Interview
      • Setting up the interview
      • Preparing for the interview
        • Coming up with Questions
      • Meeting with your interviewee
      • Following up on your interview
    • 3. Setting up the Interview
      • Contact the potential interviewee in advance
      • Arrange a specific time and place, and let the interviewee know how much time it will take
      • Identify the topic that you will be discussing during the interview
    • 4. Preparing for the interview
      • Prepare a list of questions in advance
      • Find background information about the interviewee
      • Prioritize your questions and ask the most important questions first
      • Decide your goals for the interview
    • 5. Coming up with Questions
      • Ask yourself: “What do I need to know?”
      • Write a list of things you want to find out
      • Write a list of questions that will help your interviewee discuss this information
      • Do not ask biased questions: “Don’t you think we could improve campus parking by building another parking garage?”
      • Check the questions carefully to see if the wording could be offensive to your interviewee
    • 6. How to ask good questions
      • Ask leading questions rather than asking yes or no questions
        • Do you think there is a parking problem on campus? ( Yes or no question )
        • What is your view on the parking situation on campus? ( leading question )
      • The response to a leading question will give you more detail to support your research
    • 7. Understanding feedback
      • During the interview, summarize the answers back to the interviewee to make sure you understand his/her answer
      • Q: What is your view on the parking situation on campus?
      • A: I think it is a problem, because there are more cars than parking spaces.
      • Paraphrase response: So you believe there are not enough parking spaces for the cars on campus.
    • 8. Meeting the Interviewee
      • Always bring a stiff-backed notebook and several trustworthy writing instruments
      • If you wish to tape-record your interview, always ask before doing so
      • Keep notes on the interview, but make sure that you are still talking to the interviewee, not just scribbling
    • 9. Meeting the Interviewee (cont.)
      • Bring your prepared list of questions to the interview
      • Try to stick to the topic at hand, but be flexible if your interviewee brings up unexpected but valuable information
    • 10. Online Interviewing
      • If you need to interview via email, remember to ask for permission first
      • Establish the scope and time period of the interview
      • Remember that the same rules of courtesy still apply
    • 11. Following up the Interview
      • Always be sure to thank your interviewee, orally and in writing
      • Write your results soon after the interview while they are fresh in your mind
      • Let your interviewee review your findings in order to confirm that you have represented him/her accurately
    • 12. Conducting an Interview
      • Conducting a successful interview involves attention to each of the following steps:
        • Making contact to setup the interview
        • Preparing for the interview
        • Meeting the interviewee
        • Following up on the interview
    • 13. Where can you go for more help with field research?
      • The Writing Lab
      • Heavilon Hall Room 226
      • 494-3723
      • http://owl.english.purdue.edu
      • Go to http://owl.english.purdue.edu/writinglab/topic/owlmail with brief questions.

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