REVIEWING THE RESEARCH PROCESS Topic Identification Choosing a Research Topic (Assignment 1) Methodology Social Survey (Assignment 2) Interview (Assignment 3) Data Analysis & Interpretation Report Writing (Assignment 4)
An interchange of views
on a topic of mutual interest for knowledge production
(S Kvale, 1996)
Purpose of the interview
A communication tool to gather
information for a research study
Why conduct an interview?
Obtain information not available elsewhere
Obtain first hand information
Get expert knowledge
Types of Interview Informal Conversation Standardised Open-ended Questions asked in the natural course of things Exact wording and sequence of questions are predetermined No predetermined question topics or wordings All interviewees are asked the same basic questions in the same order
1. Planning Literature Research Identify information gaps State general goals of the interview From goals to specific objectives Transla te specific objectives into questions
Start off with a telephone call or email
Request for an interview
Explain area of study
Make an appointment
Follow up with a formal letter to
confirm time and venue of interview
re-state what the study is about
identify the scope/ area the interview will cover
2. Designing Questions
Important to identify your specific objectives and translate these into questions
Decide on types of questions to use
Ask simple, open-ended questions
Avoid questions with one or two word answers
Plan sequence, rank the questions in case time runs short
2. Designing Questions
Framing of questions- must match the education level , cultural standing and knowledge of the interviewee
Check the wordings carefully to see if it could be offensive to the person
Prepare prompts in case the answer is not specific enough for your information gap
Do a trial run on your friends
Wording of Questions
Wording should be open-ended. Respondents should be able to choose their own terms when answering questions.
Questions should be as neutral as possible. Avoid wording that might influence answers, e.g., evocative, judgmental wording.
Questions should be asked one at a time.
Questions should be worded clearly. This includes knowing any terms particular to the program or the respondents' culture.
Be careful asking "why" questions. This type of question infers a cause-effect relationship that may not truly exist. These questions may also cause respondents to feel defensive, e.g., that they have to justify their response, which may inhibit their responses to this and future questions.
Types of Topics in Questions
One can ask questions about:
Behaviors - about what a person has done or is doing
Opinions/values - about what a person thinks about a topic
Feelings - note that respondents sometimes respond with "I think ..." so be careful to note that you're looking for feelings
Knowledge - to get facts about a topic
Sensory - about what people have seen, touched, heard, tasted or smelled
Background/demographics - standard background questions, such as age, education, etc.
Note that the above questions can be asked in terms of past, present or future.
Sequence of Questions
Get the respondents involved in the interview as soon as possible.
Before asking about controversial matters (such as feelings and conclusions), first ask about some facts. With this approach, respondents can more easily engage in the interview before warming up to more personal matters.
Intersperse fact-based questions throughout the interview to avoid long lists of fact-based questions, which tends to leave respondents disengaged.
Ask questions about the present before questions about the past or future. It's usually easier for them to talk about the present and then work into the past or future.
The last questions might be to allow respondents to provide any other information they prefer to add and their impressions of the interview.
Things to bring:
Trustworthy writing materials
3. The Actual Interview
A social and interpersonal encounter
Not a data collection exercise
Establish an appropriate atmosphere for participants to feel secure and to talk freely
Note the ethical dimension of the interview- ‘on’ and ‘off’ record remarks
3. The Actual Interview
Be adept at “active listening”
Keep conversation going, motivate participants to provide freely information required
Take note of non-verbal communication and gestures
Meeting the Interviewee
Consider how the location and context of the interview would affect how the interview is conducted
Take only as much of the respondent’s time as you need
If you plan to record the interview or take photographs, request permission first.
Make sure YOU are not in a rush for your next appointment.
Respect your interviewee’s wish for ‘off the record’
THANK your respondent for time taken.
Key skills to practise
Listening with interest
Revising additional questions on the spot
Consider the questions below:
What is your occupation?
Why did you choose this line of work?
Is this what you really wanted? Have
you ever consider anything else?
Probing to go beyond the surface answers
For situations when interviewee gives you a very long answer that elaborates a few key points
Check that you have understood by asking;
So what happens in the entire process
is basically X, Y and then Z when condition A is present- is that correct?
When answers sound confusing or are full of jargon
Seek clarification by paraphrasing/ rephrasing respondent’s answers
Would it be fair for me to say X causes Y with Z being produced as a by-product?
Do you mean that ……?
Situation: Interviewee gets side-tracked and you need to gently bring them back to the main topic
That’s quite funny ….. But let’s talk about ….
Now, going back to what you said earlier on …….
Allow for further exploration in a related area
Based on some interesting or relevant information given by the interviewee
Could you tell me the story briefly? ….That’s interesting. Why did your parents hope that you would grow up with that character’s traits?
Devising Additional Questions
You might have picked up an interesting idea during the interview and followed it up with a question or two to assess its relevance
Mark it out in your notes so that at the end of the interview, if there’s still time, you can go back to that thread of conversation and see if you can learn more about it.
Video clip on Interview Skills
The Post-Interview Process
Send a thank-you card or letter within a day.
Don’t procrastinate… review of the interview immediately.
Are there inconsistencies and discrepancies in the information?
Are there gaps in the information?
If there are, phone your respondent to check for accuracy or to fill an information gap. (Keep this short)
The Post Interview Process
Transcribe the interview recording
Evaluate and summarise the content and the process of your interview
Respect respondent’s views about anonymity and what to include when citing them
Never take advantage of a respondent’s indiscreet comments
Be sure to send a copy of your transcript to the interviewee to confirm that you’ve represented the person accurately
4. Transcript Writing
Essential information to include:
Title of interview
Date and venue
Purpose of project
4. Transcript Writing
A record of the social encounter
Field notes and tape recorders are used to assist with transcribing
Systematically go through data, line by line
Write a a descriptive code by side of each piece of datum
4. Conventions to use
Common conventions include:
‘ -----‘ for hesitant pauses,
[pause] for pauses,
( ) for side remarks
4. Tightening up the transcript
Recordings will have false starts, redundant ‘uhs’ and ‘uhms’. These can be left out.
Grammar may be ‘cleaned up’ if it is not the point of the interview.
Exemplar Interview Transcription (2011 Y1).docx
5. Analysing Qualitative Data
Data on transcript are interpreted data
A reflective interaction of the researcher and the data
Hence the potential for data loss, distortion and simplification during transcription
Issues of reliability, validity and generalization of the data from interviews should be discussed
Subject is multi-disciplined; covering statistics, probability and psychology
Final words- Things to consider
Many interviewees say what they think interviewer wants.
Many interviewees are concerned about coming across well.