Surviving the Data Collection Report
How To ConductQualitative Interviews
What is a Qualitative Interview?
Qualitative interviews are interviews designed to:Have the interviewee do a majority of the speakingEncourage the participant to provide rich and detailed experiences.Help the interviewer understand how and why the participant experienced certain events in their lives as they did.
Aspects of Qualitative Research Interviews
Life World:Focus ona participant’sexperiences withintheir discourse communityandnot just their beliefsabout issues.Meaning:Focus onthe meaning of what the participant says and also pay attention to how they sayit.Qualitative:Findknowledge in a qualitative manner; expressed in normal language and doesn’t aim to quantify anyresponses.Descriptive:Seekto obtain open, rich descriptions of different aspects of the participant’sdiscourse community.Specificity:The interviewee should be prompted to discuss issues that are relevant to your research topic.DeliberateNaiveté:As an interviewer you should be open to new experiences while interviewing people versus expecting the same generic answers.
Aspects of Qualitative ResearchInterviews, cont’d
Focused:Stay focusedon the central theme of what you are studying;keepdeviationsatleast onelements of the DCyou arediscussingandtryto revert back tothecentralresearch issue.Ambiguity:Understandthat sometimes the participants answers may be ambiguous and represent conflicting as well as contradicting in their own life world .Change:Sometimes,the process of beinginterviewedcan make the participant develop new insights and awareness onan issue. Sometimestheir descriptions and meanings may change throughout the course of theinterview.Sensitivity:You should be aware that different interviewers can produce a range of responses on the same themes depending on their sensitivity to andknowledgeof the interviewtopic.InterpersonalSituation:Your focus should remain on advancing your understanding of the research issue. Personal connections may be made, but they should not be allowed to color the experience.Positive Experience:A well conducted research interview can provide enriching new insights for the interviewer and the interviewee on their life situations.
Qualification Criteria for the Interviewer
Knowledgeable:Haveaworking knowledgeregarding the topicand discourse community about which you areconducting theinterview.Structuring:Theinterview bestructured toprovide a guideline foryou tofollow andallow you toeasily developfollow-up questions.Clear:As an interviewer you should be able to ask clear, concise, easy and short questions for the participants to answer.Only use jargon when appropriate.Gentle:Youshould be able to let your interviewee formulate/finish their thoughts at their ownspeeds.Lettingthem complete at their own pace is vital;questions may havenever been asked before andit takestime to formulatea valuableanswerSensitive:Activelylisten toboth thecontent of what is being said as well as howit is being said. Be sensitive to changes in tone or inflection that may indicate, for example, sarcasm.
Qualification Criteria for theInterviewer, cont’d
Open:As an interviewer youshouldbe able to hear which aspects of the interview are important and focus on the mainquestions associatedwith theresearch issue.Steering:Know whatis relevant to completing the interview and what information you need. As aresult,you will be abletoguide the interview towards relevant discussion, as well as away from topics that will not be pertinent toyour research.Critical:As an interviewer you should be able to take what is being said for more than face value. You should be able to write down the important critical points to aidin recall.Remembering:Being able to harness theskillofrecall whileinterviewing participants enhances the information and data you may be able to gain from it.
Non-Talker:Get them to explore their thoughts with phrases such as : “could you elaborate onthat?”“could you talk a bitabout…”, “couldyou explain why you think thatway?”, or “canyou tell more aboutthat?”Rambler:You should be able to politely say“Excuseme, but I was wondering if we could change the subject a bit and get back to your thoughts on…”or “ excuse me, but I was wondering if youelaborate onthe point you mentioned about…”Uncomfortable:When you sense that a participant is uncomfortable with a section of the interview you can ask questions such as“whichpart is uncomfortable for you? Can you talk about the part that you feel more comfortablewith?”Contradicting Statements:If a participant makes contradicting statements, at the beginning of the contradiction you can issue statements such as“Excuseme, but before you mentioned that (first statement), but now you’re saying (new, contradicting statement), can you clarify this for me please?”
Interviewer Issues Continued
Confused:If theparticipantis confused by your wording of the question, you can simply state“Sorry, then let me try torephraseit foryou” thenrephrase your questionother terms. You may need to prepare multiple versions of the same question.PersonalQuestions:Avoid asking them. Don’t feel obligatedto answering them.Flirt:Avoid consciously flirting with interviewee unless you are doing research about the effects of flirting.
Type of Interview Questions
Introducing QuestionsProbingQuestionsSpecifying QuestionsDirect QuestionsIndirect QuestionsStructuring QuestionsInterpretingQuestionsFollowUpQuestionsSilence
Guide forPreparing Interview Summaries
Description of Interview setting and PurposeMemos, or Notes, or Video or Audio Recording:Always politely ask permission before recording.TheoreticalMemos/Notes:Interviewee’s position on your research issueMethodologicalMemos/Notes:Interviewee’s advice to createyour literature review andfurther your research.PersonalMemos/Notes:What you have learned about the manner in which your discourse community functions that will affect the way you conduct further research.