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

Conducting Interviews

Nicole Richardson


Why is interviewing important

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

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

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.


Conducting interviews

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

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

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

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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