Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.

The Nature of Qualitative Interviews


Published on

The session explores the ways in which interviews can be effective tools for social research

Published in: Education, Technology

The Nature of Qualitative Interviews

  1. 1. Qualitative Research: Interviewing Interview procedures Types of interview
  2. 2. Interviewing: Definition <ul><ul><li>Interviewing is a meeting of two persons to exchange information and ideas through questions and responses, resulting in communication and joint construction of meaning about a particular topic. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Janesick (2004): 72 </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Interviewing: preliminary thoughts <ul><li>Material gathered through interviews is one of the most common methods in field research </li></ul><ul><li>Often used as a primary method or a way of further focussing participant-observation </li></ul><ul><li>Interviews allow material to be accessed from social situations where the researcher was not/cannot be present </li></ul><ul><li>Key participants are individuals who appear to have a wide knowledge of the social situation you are interested in </li></ul><ul><li>Sometimes they are individuals who stand at the of the ‘culture’ you are investigating </li></ul><ul><li>Useful in establishing the most important research questions </li></ul><ul><li>May enable access to other situations, people or organisations </li></ul><ul><li>Dangers: Do interviews offer a biased view? Do interivewees have their own agenda? </li></ul><ul><li>Ethical issues: Are interviews exploiting these individuals? </li></ul>
  4. 4. Interviewing: procedures (1) <ul><li>Establishing relationships </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The key is ensuring the person you are interviewing is at ease. How do you do that? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Tell them what you are doing and why </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Ask for permission to use a tape recorder/take notes </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Ensure confidentiality … </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Be sensitive to body language and tone of voice </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Ask non-threatening questions first </li></ul></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Interviewing: procedures (2) <ul><li>Use a schedule which specifies the topics or themes to be covered </li></ul><ul><ul><li>For structured interviews this lists the questions to be asked </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>For unstructured interviews it reminds you which topics/issues to cover (these might not occur in the same order in the interview). </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Types of interview <ul><li>Interviews range from: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Structured Semi-structured unstructured </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>(directed) (non-directed) </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Structured Interviews <ul><li>Structured Interviews have explicit research goals </li></ul><ul><li>Are similar to a verbal approximation of a survey questionnaire </li></ul><ul><li>Allow for easy comparison between participants </li></ul><ul><li>Responses are shaped by the researcher </li></ul>
  8. 8. Unstructured Interviews <ul><li>Unstructured Interviews have an implicit research agenda </li></ul><ul><li>Are similar to ‘steered conversations’ or ‘conversations with a purpose’ </li></ul><ul><li>Questions emerge typically from the conversation </li></ul><ul><li>Skill is in finding the most appropriate time to ask questions </li></ul><ul><li>Choosing which type of interview to use depends on the nature of the research and who you are interviewing. </li></ul><ul><li>Interviews can move from being structured at the beginning to more unstructured at the end </li></ul>
  9. 9. Interview Task <ul><li>Find someone you know to interview. The interview should last approximately 15 minutes. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What are your beliefs about friendship? </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Types of Interview Questions (1) <ul><li>Degree of focus </li></ul><ul><ul><li>‘grand-tour questions: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Could you show me around the building?’ </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>‘What are the general purposes of this room?’ </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>These enable a broad picture to be obtained </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Specific questions: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>‘Please tell me more about …’ </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>These help to find out more specific information </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Types of Interview Questions (2) <ul><li>Degree of open-endedness </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Open-ended </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>‘ How do you feel about …’ </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Used to discover participant’s perception of the situation. Allows participants to interpret questions their own way. Allows new questions to be generated. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Closed questions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>‘ Do you agree with the idea that …’ </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Restricts participant’s response. Useful to confirm findings </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Types of Interview Questions (3) <ul><li>Types of information </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Descriptive </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Could you tell me what happened that evening? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Structured </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>‘ What factors do you think are involved in …?’ </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Contrast </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>‘ In what way has the course improved since last year?’ </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Clarification </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>‘ You talk about how objects represent people. Can you clarify for me what you mean?’ </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Follow-up </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>‘ You mentioned organising space in the gallery. Can you tell me how you organise the display space?’ </li></ul></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Understanding interview material <ul><li>Knowledge is gained from the interviewee’s viewpoint </li></ul><ul><li>Research material is gathered from the interaction between the interviewee and the researcher </li></ul><ul><li>The primary goal is to understand and interpret these materials in terms of the context in which they were produced: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Was the interview pre-arranged? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Was the interviewee at ease? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What type of questions were asked? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>When and how were they asked? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>We will do more work on what to do with material collected from interviews in a later session </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. Next session <ul><li>Reading for 19 th November </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Van Maanen, J. (1988). Tales of the Field, On Writing Ethnography . London, University of Chicago Press. Ch. 5 </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Clifford, J. (1986). On Ethnographic Allegory. Writing Culture: The Poetics and Politics of Writing Culture . J. Clifford and G. E. Marcus. London, University of California Press. </li></ul></ul></ul>