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Introduction to Interviewing


Title: introduction Last modified by: Jenna Burrell Created Date: 8/16/2006 12:00:00 AM Document presentation format: On-screen Show (4:3) Other titles – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Introduction to Interviewing

Introduction to Interviewing
  • INFO 272. Qualitative Research Methods

  • What is Qualitative Interviewing?
  • Underlying theory
  • Interview techniques

Suchman and Jordans Critique
  • Aspects of ordinary conversation
  • Local control
  • Question redesign
  • Answer elaboration
  • Detection and repair of misunderstandings

Qualitative Interviewing
to obtain descriptions of the life world of the
interviewee with respect to interpreting the
meaning of the described phenomena. pg. 5-6
to gain a fine-textured understanding of
beliefs, attitudes, values and motivations in
relation to the behaviors of people in particular
social contexts. pg. 39 Bauer and Gaskell
Reasons to Conduct Qualitative Interviews
  • Developing detailed description of an event
  • Integrating multiple perspectives
  • Learning how events are interpreted
  • Bridging inter-subjectivities
  • Identifying variables and framing hypotheses for
    quantitative research
  • Learning from Strangers. Pg. 9-11

Keeping in Mind...
  • an interview is a negotiation between interviewer
    and interviewee (who exert reciprocal influence)
  • an Inter-View Kvale
  • What is the underlying theory of social reality?

Keeping in Mind...
  • when we understand knowledge as the social
    justification of belief rather than as accuracy
    of representation, conversation replaces
    confrontation with nature.
  • the certainty of our knowledge is a matter of
    conversation between persons, rather than a
    matter of interaction with a nonhuman reality.

  • through memory
  • through interviewees self-perception
  • through interviewers perceptions
  • the presence of the interviewers and others
  • extreme cases teenagers/pre-teens, politicians

Advantages Disadvantages
  • artificiality distance from event/experience
    (remember Becker on the accuracy gained from
    close observation)
  • efficiency generate a large amount of material
    on a specific topic in a short amount of time
  • getting at the internal world of meaning and
    interpretation of individuals

  • individual depth interviews
  • narrative interviews focusing on a specific
  • expert interviews
  • ethnographic interviews usually situated in
    interviewees cultural milieu, often spontaneous
    and informal
  • joint interviews and focus groups i.e. husband
    and wife, family, household, co-workers, etc.

Interview Techniques
  • Main goal get your interviewees to talk openly
    and at length about a topic you have selected,
    but in their own words and in relation to their
    own experiences.
  • This involves developing and extending your
    skills of conversation in a particular way

Interview Techniques
  • Recalling Suchman and Jordan
  • Give the interviewee as much control over the
    conversation as possible
  • Allow interviewee to redesign the questions
  • Allow/encourage interviewee to elaborate on
  • Confirm and clarify responses
  • Detect and repair misunderstandings

Interview Techniques
  • what can go wrong?
  • suspicion, evasion, stonewalling
  • Interviewees who speak very little, or are
    extremely talkative, or go way off-topic
  • speaking in generalities only, attempting to do
    the analysis for you (let me tell you how people
    use the Internet here)

Interview Techniques
  • first things first explain yourself and your
  • establishing rapport
  • topics the interviewee enjoys talking about
  • commiserate, empathize, be human

Interview Techniques
  • avoiding generalities
  • ask for concrete examples, personal stories
  • accessible questions with appropriate vocabulary
    (i.e. dont use terms like discourse or
  • quality concerns
  • avoid leading questions dont you think...
    isnt it true...
  • clarify and confirm

Interview Techniques
  • encouraging verbosity
  • avoid yes/no questions, ask questions that
    require descriptive or narrative answers.
  • tell me about a time when you ...
  • can you give me an example of...
  • how would you describe...
  • be quiet and wait
  • ask follow up questions, allow interesting
    tangents to develop

Interview Techniques
  • discouraging verbosity
  • politely interrupt
  • throw them off guard with abrupt topic changes

Interview Techniques
  • Probes
  • D got to a time where we had to come to
    work on Sundays and I was going bad, this is
    Internet, Ive got to be careful of myself. So,
    and the Lord spoke to me in several ways.
  • J you said that you had to be careful with the
    Internet, how so, what do you mean by that?

Interviewing in Other Cultures
  • issues with language
  • attitudes in that particular society/subculture
    towards authority and the right to speak
  • ideas about and experience with research
  • private information (age, weight, income)
  • rapport and suspicion (of identity, of
  • time and scheduling

Key Ideas to Remember
  1. explain yourself and gain permission
  2. ask open-ended questions in accessible language
  3. follow the interviewees lead, clarify and
    confirm, detect and repair misunderstandings
  4. use probes

  • Discussing examples of good and bad interviews
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