Interviews FAQ Damian Gordon
What books should I read about interviews? • Anything and everything by Steinar Kvale • “Interpreting Qualitative Data” by David Silverman • “Research Design” by John Creswell
What types of interviews are there? • Structured Interviews • Fixed and predetermined questions and sequence of questions. No new questions added during interview, and questions given to interviewee by interview begins. • Semi-Structured Interviews • Some interview questions fully decided, others might not be fixed, and the other of questions in not fixed. The researcher has leeway in asking followup questions • Unstructured Interviews • Researcher has a small set of self prompts to investigate research question. One question can lead to a number of followup questions depending on the response. They tend to be more like conversations than interviews.
Do I need to record the interview? • Yes, definitely, you can use • Pen-and-paper • Audio recording • Video recording • But whichever you use, you must do a verbatim recording of the interview, both questions and answers.
How do I think of questions for the interview? • There really should be two sources • All questions need to come from the research question of the experiment • If you find literature with a sufficiently similar research topic, you can use or adapt those questions
How many people should I interview? • 15 ±10 people • is a good rule-of thumb
Are there situations where I shouldn’t use interviews? • Yes, loads of situations, e.g. electoral voting behaviour, or capturing a person’s attitudes and interactions with their environments.
When should I do the interviews? • Typically there are two times to do interviews; • As part of the requirements gathering process • As part of the evaluation process
Are there software packages that can help me ?? • Loads • ATLAS.ti • nVIVO • MaxQDA • NUD*IST • HyperRESEARCH • But, do not underestimate the power of Excel, it’s a brilliant tool when used well
Further Tips • Decide on an order of questions that easily flows one to the next • Try to use language that is easy to understand and relevant to the interviewee • Avoid Leading questions • Try to stop the interviewee using qualifiers • Add a few control questions into the interview for validation • Avoid smalltalk during the interview • LISTEN, LISTEN, LISTEN