Interviewing Qualitative Research Methods
Interviewing What is interviewing? “It is a process of finding out what others feel and think about their worlds. The result is to understand the major points of their message . . . .” (Rubin & Rubin, 1995) “Interviewing is a philosophy of learning.” (www.public.asu.edu)
Interviewing What is interviewing? Interview: a purposeful conversation in which one person asks prepared questions (interviewer) and another answers (respondent) them (Frey & Oishi, 1995)
Interviewing Tasks To understand the meaning of what the interviewee says - enter into their perspective To describe the meanings of central theme in the life of the interviewee To cover both factual and a meaning level (Kvale, 1996)
Interviewing Why Interviews? To generate insights and concepts, not generalize about them Expand our understanding To search for exceptions to the rule To document historical idiosyncratic cases/personalities
Interviewing Why Interviews? 5. To gain information about a particular topic As a tool to gather information for additional research
Interviewing Why Interviews? To gain insight into people’s thoughts & feelings Events cannot be replicated
Interviewing Information Obtained Narratives Accounts Stories Myths Etc.
Interviewing Types of Interviews They way and type of interview we use depends on what we want to know. Not only do you need to be a good conversationalist, but also a good listener. (Rubin & Rubin, 1995)
Interviewing Types of Interviews Topical: concerned with facts and sequence of an event - reconstruction of the experience Life Histories: deal with individual experiences or rites of passage - narratives that interpret the past
Interviewing Types of Interviews Evaluation: examines new programs or developments in order to offer suggestions for improvement/critiques Cultural: focuses on norms, values, understandings, and taken-for-granted rules of behavior of a group or society - typical shared activities & their meanings
Interviewing 3 Interview Structures Highly Structured/Standardized 1. Wording of questions is predetermined 2. Order of questions is predetermined 3. Interview is oral form of a written survey Includes demographic data (i.e. US Census Bureau)
Interviewing 3 Interview Structures Semi-structured: Includes a mix of more and less structured questions Incorporates flexibility Specific data required from all respondents Largest part of the interview guided by list of topics to be explored No predetermined wording or order
Interviewing 3 Interview Structures Unstructured/Informal: Open-ended questions Flexible, exploratory More conversation-like Used when researcher does not know much about the phenomenon Used primarily in ethnography, participant observation, and case study
Interviewing Good Questions to Ask Experience & behavior - Tell me about a typical day at work; what are you likely to do first thing in the morning once you arrive at work? 2. Opinion & values - What is your opinion as to whether The US was right in invading Iraq?
Interviewing Good Questions to Ask 3. Feelings - How do you feel about discontinuing the use of the Euro cent? Knowledge - Questions about participant’s actual factual knowledge about a subject
Interviewing Good Questions to Ask Sensory questions - Tries to elicit specific data about what was seen, heard, touched, etc. - What were the smells at the beach the day you visited? 6. Background/demographic
Interviewing Good Questions to Ask 7. Hypothetical - Suppose it were my first day in this training program. What would it be like? 8. Devil’s advocate - Some people say that people who lost their job did something to bring about being fired. What would you say to them?
Interviewing Good Questions to Ask Ideal position - Would you describe what you think the ideal training program would be like? 10. Interpretive - Tell me a time when . . . - Give me an example . . . - Tell me more about . . . - What was it like for you when . . .
Interviewing Role of the Interviewer Locate and enlist cooperation of respondents 2. Motivate people to do a good job Clarify any confusion/concerns Observe quality of response - ask good questions
Interviewing Role of the Interviewer Conduct a good/thorough interview Actively listen Do not interrupt or finish interviewee’s sentences
Interviewing Things to Consider Before Interview The investigator’s motives and intentions and the inquiry’s purpose The protection of the respondents Who had final say over the interview/study’s content Payment (if any) Logistics
Interviewing Probes Probes:questions or comments that follow up something already asked - silence - overt encouragement - elaboration - ask for clarification - repetition
Interviewing Recording & Transcribing 3 Ways to Record: Tape record Take notes during the interview Write down as much as can be remembered as soon as possible after the interview - Should be avoided!
Interviewing Recording & Transcribing Verbatim transcription is the best way to transcribe interview data 1. Number every line (see handout) 2. Single space comments, but double space between speakers 3. Very tedious and time consuming
Interviewing Strengths & Weakness Strengths: Enables researcher to examine the level of understanding a respondent has about a particular topic Can be used as formative assessment - explore respondent’s feelings before using second method
Interviewing Strengths & Weakness Strengths: Reliable source of data 4. Relatively quick and easy to create, code and interpret 5. No worries about response rates, biased samples, incomplete questionnaires, etc.
Interviewing Strengths & Weakness Weaknesses: Time consuming Quality dependent on the responses given Possibility that the presence of the researcher is influencing the way the respondent is responding