Conducting interviews
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Conducting Interviews. Nicole Richardson. Why is Interviewing important?. Interviewing is an important strategy that is overlooked in elementary and high school. The first interview that I conducted was during my graduate work and it proved to be a learning experience.

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Conducting Interviews

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Conducting Interviews

Nicole Richardson


Why is Interviewing important?

  • Interviewing is an important strategy that is overlooked in elementary and high school.

  • The first interview that I conducted was during my graduate work and it proved to be a learning experience.

  • I had interviewed a principal about their literacy program. He had no idea how to respond to my questions and I in turn had no idea what he was talking about. This was not a good example of interviewing.

  • One classmate had this to say about interviews, “I had been developing interview questions all wrong! Developing interview questions is not a simple one time process.”


Be Creative!

  • In the article, “Making Words Fly,” Glense explained that research questions need to focus on, “creativity and insight, rather than a mechanical translation of the research questions into an interview guide.”

  • Our research questions should not lead participants to respond in a certain way.

  • The first time that I interviewed, there was a lot of silence instead of talking. Therefore, I abandoned important questions for the sake of the awkwardness and didn’t benefit from the experience.

  • Research questions should not be written as a yes or no question but rather be phrased more open ended to avoid future debacles like my first experience.


How to be successful

  • Interview questions need to evolve over the course of an interview.

  • Glense states, “…you should think of questions tentatively, so you are disposed to modify, abandon them, or replace them with others…”

  • By modifying questions an interview will resemble an informal conversation between the participant and interviewer.

  • These tips would have been helpful when I conducted my first interview and are important to teach students so they can be successful at this skill from their very first interview. I never took the time to get to know my respondent and didn’t allow for it in my questioning.


Practice Makes Perfect

  • It is beneficial to draft questions and practice them with peers.

  • By debriefing, the interviewer can make changes before the formal interview.

  • We practice for a job interview so why not do the same for our research!


Power Of Interviewing

  • Glense states, "The opportunity to learn about what you cannot see and to explore alternative explanations of what you do see is the special strength of interviewing in qualitative inquiry.”

  • Interviewing is way of triangulating data and supporting the literature associated to your topic.

  • Interviewing provides research with the viewpoints of professionals that may not have otherwise been accounted for in scholarly articles.


Making the Most of an Interview

  • Set up an interview at a time that is convenient for the participant and yourself.

  • I have found that interviewing over video chat is convenient and can be easily saved to the computer for future reference.

  • You can provide research questions prior to the interview so the respondent can prepare to answer them.

  • If permitted, use video or audio tapes to record responses.

  • Glense recommends to keep an account for every interviewee that focuses on old questions, observations, and contact information for the future.


Interviews in the classroom

  • Have students in elementary school practice interviewing their peers at the beginning of the year as a community building activity.

  • In “Making Words Fly,” it is suggested to interview in groups so there are multiple responses to questions. This is a great technique for early interviewers to get their feet wet with interviewing!

  • Students can also practice writing questions when guest speakers visit the school or the students go on a field trip.

  • Scaffold question writing! It takes time to perfect questions.


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