WHAT ARE INTERVIEWS?• ‘a conversation with a purpose’• their focus: less on what people are doing … … and more on exploring or ‘probing’ what people are thinking,feeling and experiencing - on the ‘nature of experience’• can use stimuli such as photos and videos, notes and diaries, lesson plans, lesson materials and textbooks, relationship maps, home designs
WHY USE INTERVIEWS?• interviews can explore people’s experiences, beliefs, perceptions and motivations deeply - that is, help to deeply understand the world of the participants• interviews help other data creation methods: asking – interviews, questionnaires, diary studies seeing – observations evaluating – proficiency tests, etc. … so they are useful at all stages of research cycle
WHAT ARE INTERVIEWS?• people: interviewer and interviewee questions answers• number of people interviewed: • individual interview – one on one • group interview – one on many • focus group – the focus is on the group, and its interactions
TYPES OF INTERVIEWS• different types of interviews: • formal interviews • ‘off the record’ interviews • ‘chats’ and ‘casual conversations’• different ways of interviewing:open semi-structured structured
OPEN INTERVIEWS• Flexible data creation - participant can lead much of the interview• Few pre-written questions - general interview guide only• Fewer people interviewed• Better for exploring experiences, feelings, views and opinions, but difficult to compare different participants.• Used at the beginning of the research cycle• You are not ‘digging’, but ‘jointly constructing meaning’
SEMI-STRUCTURED INTERVIEWS• Semi-flexible data creation - interviewer leads most of the interview, but gives space for participant to lead parts of the interview• Interviewer able to probe areas in depth• Useful for exploring and confirming• Used throughout research cycle• Uses some pre-written questions: interview guide• These questions are best not used at the beginning of the interview
STRUCTURED INTERVIEWS• Controlled data creation - interviewer leads the interview• Pre-written questions: interview schedule• Many people are interviewed using the same questions, to compare answers• Like a ‘spoken questionnaire’• Can get very specific information• Good at middle and end of research cycle• Actually, it’s difficult to ask the same questions each time, so each interview will in reality be different.
THE INTERVIEW• The greatest challenge in interviewing is getting the interaction right: you need to maintain control while allowing the interview to develop as naturally as possible.• The key to successful interviewing is the art of listening.• Three types of questions: • Interaction questions • Structural questions • Confirmation / exploration questions
INTERACTION QUESTIONS• Chit-chat • How are you today? • Thank you for making the time today!• Practical issues • Our interview will be about one hour long. • Would you mind if I record the interview?
INTERACTION QUESTIONS• Managing the interview • So, shall we begin? • We’ve talked about A, next, let’s explore B. • I’d like to move on to the next topic, C. • We have about 10 minutes left. Is there anything you want to chat about today that we haven’t already discussed?
STRUCTURAL QUESTIONS• Facts / Events • Please tell me about your classes. [broad] • Please tell what students do when you give instructions again in Japanese. [narrow]• Opinions / Perspectives • Why do you think that happens in your class? • Why do you think the students do that?
CONFIRMATION QUESTIONS• Check or confirm • So, you said that … • Let me just check. You explained that …• Probe deeper • Please tell me more about … [broad] • Why is it that … / Please give me another example of … [narrow]
SELECTING PARTICIPANTSSelecting participants in qualitative research • small samples, so selection is very important! • purposive: • homogeneous – participants have same important feature • typical – participants have had ‘typical’ experiences • maximum variation – participants have very different experiences • extreme or deviant –participants have the most different experiences • criterion – participants meet some specific criteria • critical case – participants offer a dramatic or full representation of the phenomenon being studied
SELECTING PARTICIPANTSSelecting participants in qualitative research • not purposive: • snowballing – initial key participants recruit next round of participants for the researcher • opportunistic – unplanned (you meet someone who seems to fit, and you interview them). Fits ‘emergent’ nature of qualitative research • Convenience – practical (you select the people who are available). The most common, but you may not get the participants that are most suitable for your research. Dornyei, Z. (2007). Research Methods in Applied Linguistics: Quantitative, Qualitative, and Mixed Methodologies. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
SETTING UP THE INTERVIEW• Explain the purpose of the interview• Explain format, including time, question types• Discuss privacy issues, negotiate consent• Allow participant to ask questions• Agree on the setting• Negotiate method for recording data• Provide contact information