STRUCTURE OF THE CHAPTER Conceptions of the interview Purposes of the interview Types of interview Planning interview-based research procedures Group interviewing Interviewing children Interviewing minority and marginalized people Focus groups Non-directive, focused, problem-centred and in- depth interviews Telephone interviewing Ethical issues in interviewing
CONCEPTIONS OF THE INTERVIEW For information transfer A biased transaction An encounter like any other aspect of everyday life
PURPOSES OF THE INTERVIEW To evaluate or assess a person in some respect To select or promote an employee To effect therapeutic change, e.g. the psychiatric interview To test or develop hypotheses To gather data To sample respondents opinions, as in door- step interviews
TYPES OF INTERVIEW Standardized In-depth Ethnographic Elite Life history Focus groups Semi-structured Group Structured Unstructured Exploratory Informal conversational Interview guide approaches; Standardized open- ended Closed quantitative Non-directive Focused
INTERVIEWS Vary by degree of structure Quantitative to qualitative Closed to open Nomothetic to idiographic Formal to informal Generalizations to uniqueness
TYPES OF INTERVIEW QUESTION Dichotomous Multiple choice Rating scales Open-ended Ranking Ratio data
TYPES OF INTERVIEW QUESTION Factual Values/opinions General Specific Descriptive Experience Behaviour Knowledge Construct-forming Contrast Feeling Sensory Background Demographic Introductory Follow-up Probe To give examples; Ask for information; Interpretive Interview control questions
RESPONSE MODES Unstructured Fill-in (answer a direct question) Tabular response (completing a table) Scale (e.g. rating scale) Ranking Multiple choice Dichotomous
PROMPTS AND PROBES Prompts: to clarify or explain to a respondent Probes: to investigate further (why, when, how, give an example, how did you feel, what
KEY FEATURES OF INTERVIEWING An interview is a social and an emotional encounter, not just a data collection exercise. Data are given – gifts – not the right of researcher to have. Verbal and non-verbal behaviours are significant. Context and dynamics exert an influence on the interview. Age, gender, colour, class, dress, language, appearance of the interviewers and interviewees influence the interview.
KEY FEATURES OF INTERVIEWING Interviews must be conducted sensitively Some people (e.g. children) will say anything rather than nothing Respondents may not be telling the truth It is the task of the interviewer to maintain rapport It is the task of the interviewer to maintain interviewee motivation and interest
RESPONDING TO THE INTERVIEWEE Make encouraging noises. Reflect on remarks made by the informant. Probe the last remark made by the informant. Probe an idea preceding the last remark by the informant. Probe an idea expressed earlier in the interview. Introduce a new topic.
ANTICIPATING PROBLEMS IN INTERVIEWS Avoid interruptions and distractions; Minimize stage fright in participants; Avoid asking embarrassing or awkward questions unless they are important for the research; Avoid jumping from one topic to another; Avoid giving advice or opinions; Avoid summarizing too early or closing off an interview too soon; Avoid being too superficial; Handle sensitive matters sensitively;
ANTICIPATING PROBLEMS IN INTERVIEWS Keep being interested; Keep to the interview schedule in a structured interview; Avoid giving signs of approval or disapproval of responses received; Be prepared to repeat questions at the respondents request; Be prepared to move on to another question if the respondent indicates unwillingness or inability to answer the question;
ANTICIPATING PROBLEMS IN INTERVIEWS Ensure that the interviewer and interviewee understand responses, checking if necessary; If the interviewer feels that the respondent may have more to say, add and could you please tell me....; Give the respondent time to answer; Consider having a scribe to enable the interviewer to keep eye contact and momentum; Respondents may become tired, embarrassed or uninterested.
TRANSCRIBING AND NOTING What was said The tone of voice of the speaker(s) The inflection of the voice Emphases placed by the speaker Pauses (short to long), hesitancies and silences Interruptions The mood of the speaker(s) The speed of the talk How many people were speaking simultaneously
ANALYZING INTERVIEW DATA Generate natural units of meaning. Classify, categorize, code and order these units of meaning. Structure narratives to describe the interview contents. Interpret the interview data.
GROUP INTERVIEWING How to divide your attention and give everyone a chance to speak ? Do you ask everyone in a group interview to give a response to a question? How to handle people who are too quiet, too noisy, who monopolize the conversation, who argue and disagree with each other. What happens if people become angry with you or with each other? How to make people be quiet/stop talking whilst being polite? How to handle differences in how talkative people are?
GROUP INTERVIEWING How to arrange turn-taking (if appropriate)? Do you ask named individuals questions? How can you gain answers without forcing? How to handle a range of very different responses to the same question? Why have you brought together the particular people in the group? Do you want people to answer in a particular order? What to do if the more experienced people always answer first in a group interview? Be vigilant to pick up on people who are trying to speak.
INTERVIEWING CHILDREN The importance of trust and a feeling of security and being comfortable Group interviewing may help to ease the situation Use natural/familiar surroundings Use open-ended questions Use projection techniques
DIFFICULTIES IN INTERVIEWING CHILDREN Easily distracted. Researcher seen as an authority figure. Children are not always clear in their responses Limited attention span. Children may say what they think the researcher wants to hear rather than what they really think/feel. Interview seen as a test. Children may be unwilling to contradict an adult or assert themselves. Children may be inarticulate, hesitant and nervous.
DIFFICULTIES IN INTERVIEWING CHILDREN Keep the childrens teacher away from the children. How to respond to the child who says something then immediately wishes she hadnt said it. Eliciting genuine responses. Getting beyond the institutional, headteachers, or expected response. Avoiding receiving a socially desirable response. Ensure that the child is giving a true opinion. Keep children to the point.
DIFFICULTIES IN INTERVIEWING CHILDREN Avoid children being too extreme or destructive of each others views. Appropriate language level. Children may take a question too literally. Enable the children to see a situation through other peoples eyes. Avoid the interview being boring. Children may not remember/recall information. Children may be too focused on a particular situation. Children may say yes to anything.
DIFFICULTIES IN INTERVIEWING CHILDREN Children may say anything in order to please. Children may say that they dont know when they actually do know. Children may say anything rather than feel they do not have the answer. Some children may dominate the conversation. Children may feel very exposed in front of their peers. Children may feeling uncomfortable or threatened. Children may tell lies.
INTERVIEWING MINORITY AND MARGINALIZED PEOPLE Use informal, open-ended interviews. Follow the train of thought and response of the respondent. Use age-appropriate and context-appropriate language. Use qualitative and in-depth interviewing. Give participants a voice. Be non-judgemental. Enable the participant to feel safe, secure and supported. Be aware of asymmetries of power. Use non-language based techniques. Secure informed consent (e.g. from responsible adults).
FOCUS GROUPS Focus groups are contrived settings, bringing together a specifically chosen sector of the population, previously unknown to each other to discuss a particular given theme or topic. The interaction with the group leads to data and outcomes. They are unnatural settings focused on a particular issue.
FOCUS GROUPS ARE USEFUL FOR... Orientation to a particular field of focus. Developing themes, topics, and schedules for subsequent research. Generating hypotheses. Generating and evaluating data from sub- groups of a population. Gathering qualitative data. Generating data quickly and cheaply. Gathering data on attitudes, values and opinions.
FOCUS GROUPS ARE USEFUL FOR... Empowering participants to speak out. Encouraging groups, rather than individuals, to voice opinions. Encouraging non-literate participants. Providing greater coverage of issues than would be possible in a survey. Gathering feedback from previous studies.
RUNNING A FOCUS GROUP Decide the number of focus groups for a single topic. Decide the size of the group. How to allow for people not turning up on the day. Sampling. Ensuring that participants have something to say and feel comfortable enough to say it. Keeping the meeting open-ended but to the point.
NON-DIRECTIVE INTERVIEWS The respondent is responsible for initiating and directing the course of the encounter. Useful for probing deeper attitudes and perceptions of the person being interviewed. Reduces interviewer bias. Can lead to changes in respondents behaviour.
THE FOCUSED INTERVIEW The persons interviewed are known to have been involved in a particular situation. Content analysis of prior data sets agenda for interview. The investigator constructs the interview guide. The actual interview is focused on the subjective experiences of the people who have been exposed to the situation. Responses enable the researcher to test the validity of hypotheses, and to ascertain unanticipated responses to the situation.
THE PROBLEM-CENTRED INTERVIEW A problem-centred orientation toward socially relevant problems. Methodological flexibility. A process orientation to reconstruct the actions and orientations of the participant.
TELEPHONE INTERVIEWING Cheaper and quicker than face-to-face interviewing. Enables researchers to reach a widely dispersed population. Travel costs are omitted. Useful for brief surveys. Protects the anonymity of respondents. Can gather rapid responses to a structured questionnaire. Monitoring and quality control are undertaken more easily since interviews are undertaken and administered centrally. Interviewer effects are reduced. Greater interviewer control of the interview.
TELEPHONE INTERVIEWING Greater uniformity in the conduct of the interview and the standardization of questions. Results tend to be quantitative. Quicker to administer than face-to-face interviews. Call-back costs are so slight. People can be reached at times more convenient to them than if a visit were to be made. Safer to undertake than visiting dangerous places. Can collect sensitive data. Does not rely on the literacy of the respondent. May put pressure on the respondent to respond. Response rate is higher than, e.g. questionnaires.
TELEPHONE INTERVIEWING Will the people have the information that you require? Who will you need to speak to on the telephone? There is a need to pilot the interview schedule and to prepare and train the telephonists. Keep to the same, simple response categories for several questions. Keep personal details until the end of the interview. Keep to no more than, at the most, 35 questions, and to no more than, at the most fifteen minutes.
TELEPHONE INTERVIEWING Clear with the respondents at the start of the interview that they have the time to answer and that they are suitable respondents. Ask to speak to the most suitable person. Keep the terminology simple and to the point. Keep the response categories very simple and use them consistently. Rather than asking direct personal questions, ask about groups (e.g. which age group do they fall into (and give the age groups) or income brackets (and give them)).
ADMINISTERING INTERVIEWS Remotely Telephone E-mail Online Smartphone Individual Group Alone or in the presence of others Face-to face Administering interviews
ETHICAL ISSUES IN INTERVIEWING Informed consent Confidentiality, anonymity, non-identifiability and non-traceability Consequences of the interviews Benefits from the interview (and for whom) Prevention of harm Access to data Respondent validation Respectful conduct of the interview