Introduction to in depth interviewing october 3 2012
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Introduction to In-depth Interviewing October 3, 2012. Want detailed information about thoughts, behaviors, interactions, sense-making, and examples of discourse. Want more vivid, detailed ‘picture’ than other forms of data can provide. Can ‘contextualize’ other types of data.

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Introduction to In-depth Interviewing October 3, 2012

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Introduction to in depth interviewing october 3 2012

Introduction to In-depth Interviewing

October 3, 2012

When to use in depth interviews

  • Want detailed information about thoughts, behaviors, interactions, sense-making, and examples of discourse.

  • Want more vivid, detailed ‘picture’ than other forms of data can provide.

  • Can ‘contextualize’ other types of data.

  • Want individual (not group; i.e., focus group) opinion about an issue, particularly if dealing with sensitive topic.

  • Elicits nuances and contradictions as well as relationships and connections people construct through language between events, phenomena, and beliefs.

When to use In-depth Interviews?

Advantages disadvantages

  • Prone to ‘bias’

    • Just remember bias means different things depending on your goals; ‘bais’ or individual opinions can also be what you’re looking for. Yet know interaction and your goals will affect responses.

  • Time-intensive to conduct and analyze.

  • Takes training and practice to do well.

  • Can speak, in-depth about the participants’ perspectives, but not a ‘generalizable’ sample per se.


Sampling techniques

  • Convenience Sample: Finding most accessible participants without thought to criteria.

  • Judgment Sample or Purposive Sampling: set up criteria to select individuals who can best speak to the research question. Include ‘networking sampling’ and balancing variation and homogeneity across various criteria.

  • Theoretical sampling: Based on theory (if strongly influencing project up front) and criteria change throughout the process (Grounded Theory); looking for disconfirming opinions, etc.

  • When to stop interviewing: Data Saturation as no new categories, themes, or explanations emerge.

Sampling Techniques

Developing interview protocol

Initially need to consider:

  • What to say when setting up interview: give clear purpose, check/confirm meet criteria.

  • Informed Consent at the beginning of interview, explain:

    • That interview is for class project only,

    • You will maintain confidentialityand erase audio after project completed; ask if ok to audio record

    • You will change names when writing,

    • You will take some notes, but goal is conversation.

  • Have set of specific questions that will guide the interview, along with probes and clarifying questions.

  • Space to take some notes during the interview, organizing process.

Developing Interview Protocol

Introduction to in depth interviewing october 3 2012

  • Half of you go outside – Half stay here . . .

What worked well and not so well

  • Form A

  • Form B

  • Form C

What worked well and not so well?

When writing questions

  • Focus on open-ended questions that elicit story-oriented responses, especially early on in the interview.

  • Watch leading questions, “So, most PR professionals would agree, yes?”

  • Ask for description before opinions.

  • Remember the power of asking ‘why?’

  • Ask only one question at a time. Have ways to rephrase if you anticipate needing to clarify.

When writing questions:

Introduction to in depth interviewing october 3 2012

  • Have a list of probes that you can use to gather more specific information after an open-ended question.

  • Give them space at the end of the interview to talk about things you did not ask them; something like, “What else is important for me to know about X that we didn’t already address?”

  • Try to anticipate questions participants might have – test out protocols on friends and/or family before you use.

Examples of probes

Direct Probes:

  • ‘What do you mean when you say…’

  • ‘Why do you think …’

  • ‘How do you feel about …’

  • ‘Can you please tell me more?’

  • ‘Can you give me an example of xxx?’

Indirect Probes:

  • ‘Uh huh’ or ‘I see’

  • Verbal expressions of empathy that encourage participant to elaborate

  • Mirroring technique: repeat what they’ve said and pause.

  • Body language, nodding, etc.

Examples of Probes

Role play

  • Let’s ‘see’ examples of questions.

Role Play . . .

What should you say during the interview

Neutral ‘encouraging’ comments and listening cues:

  • Set up interview and tell them how you’ll proceed; their role and yours; no ‘right/wrong’ answers, will respect the time.

  • ‘ah ha,’‘go on,’ ‘umm humm,’ ‘sure’

  • Non-verbals of listening: comfortable eye contact, nods, match their non-verbals when appropriate.

  • Up front and at the end, ask if they have any questions.

  • Answer their questions during as you see fit, briefly, and then return to the interview. Can say, “I can share more with you when we’re done, if you’d like.” Or, if appropriate, deflect and say you’d like to hear their perspective first – you can share afterward.

What should you say during the interview?

Key skills to develop

  • Work on Rapport Building: setting up and maintaining a supportive, comfortable, non-judgmental environment.

  • Being Participant Centered: remember he/she is the expert and focus (not you); balance deference with focus, careful listening, neutral reaction to information, silence.

  • Emotionally Adaptive: quickly adjust your style to participants’ demeanor, reactions, and responses.

  • Control yet Open: They are looking for you to guide, but may forge many different paths. Give time to share but also know when to bring back to questions.

Key Skills to Develop

Key tips for success

  • Feel free to ask for clarification, but let participants finish first before asking. “Can you clarify for me what you mean by XXX?’ or “Tell me more about . . .”

  • Be careful not to imply they gave a ‘wrong answer’ but rather that you want to hear more or clarify.

  • Friendly, open tone goes a long, long way to develop rapport.

  • Watch body language: smile, open stance, remove cell phone or put out of view for time only (turn off).

  • Thank them for their time.

Key Tips for Success

Introduction to in depth interviewing october 3 2012

  • Example of Interview Protocol

Online interviewing contextual naturalness

Online Interviewing: Contextual Naturalness

  • How familiar are you and the participants with using the technology; its not the time to ‘try something new”

  • Can participants can use language the way they do in their everyday interactions (contextual naturalness)?

  • If you are researching aspects of ‘being online,’ then consider doing the interview in the same ‘setting’ in which participants normally engage in that activity.

  • Consider the synchronous or synchronous nature of the interaction. Probing via email vs. IM.

  • Privacy and/or use of the data? Participants’ sharing?

Online considerations con t

  • Conversational “disorder” or less ‘flow’ at times because of timing of reading and writing on IM. You do see spelling, language use, grammar, emoticons, etc.

  • Organizing online ‘transcripts’ or various sources of data can be a challenge; how do you preserve the transcript?

  • Better research conversations online? Debates:

    • Clarity vs. ‘hearing’ the thinking process and natural talk?

    • Participants’ editing of emails vs. IM vs. F-t-F

    • Participants get to decide textual representation vs. transcriber

    • Skype with ‘visuals’ vs. IM or email?

Online Considerations (con’t)

Online considerations con t kramer xie 2008 will post

  • Affective Data: visual anonymity can promote self-disclosure; but, researchers need to still pay attention to the process of rapport building online.

  • Must use your ‘online social skills’ to encourage self-disclosure and the use of emoticons or other affective responses (‘questions about feelings’)

  • Affect is still occurring (and researcher is still interpreting affect) but who and how is it represented?

Online Considerations (con’t) *Kramer & Xie (2008) will post.

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