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Research Methods Lab In-Depth Interviews. Why Interviews? A major advantage of the interview is its adaptability A skillful interviewer can follow up.

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Presentation on theme: "Research Methods Lab In-Depth Interviews. Why Interviews? A major advantage of the interview is its adaptability A skillful interviewer can follow up."— Presentation transcript:

1 Research Methods Lab In-Depth Interviews

2 Why Interviews? A major advantage of the interview is its adaptability A skillful interviewer can follow up ideas, probe responses and investigate motives and feelings- something a survey can never do The way in which a response is made (tone of voice, facial expression, hesitation) can provide information that a written response would conceal Survey responses have to be taken at face value, but a response in an interview can be developed and clarified

3 Problems Interviews are time consuming In an action research project you will be able to interview only a relatively small number of people Interviews are a highly subjective method and the danger of bias always exists Analyzing responses can present problems Wording the questions is almost as demanding as for surveys

4 Interviews vs. Surveys Preparation for interviews follows much the same procedures as for surveys Topics need to be selected, questions devised, methods of analysis considered, a schedule prepared and piloted It is not as important to be as precise about the use of certain terms as for surveys, though the language needs to be understandable With an interview, you can clarify more vague answers by asking follow-up questions

5 Types of Interviews At one extreme is the completely formalized interview where the interviewer behaves as much as a machine as possible At the other end is the completely informal interview in which the shape is determined by individual respondents A structured interview can take the form of a questionnaire or checklist that is completed by the interviewer rather than the respondent

6 Prompts If the interviewee provides information freely, then prompts might not be necessary Creating a list of prompts can be helpful if your interviewee gives vague answers The problem about pre-determined prompts is that you as the interviewer are deciding which questions to ask and they may not be the important questions

7 Example of Prompt Sheet Date:Interviewee: Question: To what extent have you participated in the Key Club? Prompt:Social Events123 Prompt:Committees123 Prompt:Peer Groups123 Prompt:Anything else? 1= not at all 2= to a certain extent (ask for examples) 3= a great deal (ask for examples)

8 Unstructured Interviews This type of interview may produce a wealth of valuable data, but they require a great deal of expertise to control and a lot of time to analyze An interview is more than an interesting conversation You need certain information and methods have to be devised to obtain that information if at all possible

9 Preliminary Interviews These completely unstructured interviews serve to help the researcher find out which areas or topics are important and when people directly concerned with the topic are encouraged to talk about what is important to them At this stage, you are looking for clues as to which areas should be explored and which should be left out For note taking, focus only on points of interest and topics that emerge; transcripts aren’t necessary

10 The Focused Interview Freedom to allow the respondent to talk about what is of central significance is clearly important However, some loose structure to ensure all topics which are considered critical to the study are covered does eliminate some of the problems of unstructured interviews A framework is established by selecting topics around which the interview is guided, which makes for easier analysis Certain questions are asked, but respondents are given freedom to talk about the topic and give their views at the same time

11 Bias There is always the danger of bias creeping into interviews, because they are conducted by human beings Many factors can influence responses:  Eagerness of the respondent to please the interviewer  A vague antagonism that sometimes arises between parties  Tendency to seek out answers that support one’s views It is easier to acknowledge the fact that bias can creep in than to eliminate it altogether If you know you hold strong views about some aspect of the topic, you need to be careful about the way questions are constructed The same question put by 2 people but with different emphasis and in a different tone of voice can produce 2 unique responses

12 Recording & Verification If you are using a structured format which enables you to mark a prepared checklist or prompts, you should leave the interview with a set of responses that can be easily analyzed If you are using a less-structured approach, you will need to devise some means of recording responses, such as with a tape recorder or using video With experience, interviewers learn to devise short hand systems of their own and as long as notes can be written up immediately, it is possible to provide a reasonable record of the session Whenever possible, interview transcripts and direct quotations should be verified with the respondent before the write up stage

13 Time, Place, and Style of the Interview Try to fix a venue and a time when you will not be disturbed Make sure all official channels have been cleared, including administration approval You should always introduce yourself and explain the purpose of the research, even if you sent an official letter Make it quite clear what you will do with the information and whether or not quotes need to be anonymous or can be attributed It is the responsibility of the interviewer, not the interviewee, to end an interview Some difficulties include interviewing senior colleagues and trying to maintain a balance between making the interviewee comfortable while not being leading

14 Questions Many of the same strategies used for constructing survey questions apply for interviews It is crucial to avoid using yes/no or short answer questions, unless you plan to use some sort of prompt sheet Use care when approaching controversial questions Watch for non-verbal cues and make note of them

15 Verbal & Non-Verbal T-Chart Verbal Answers Write each answer given in the left-hand column, and include any non-verbal cues in the right-hand column just beside it Non-Verbal Cues

16 Lab Time Using the worksheet, we will be walking through the steps listed:  Purpose and population  Interview type  Creating questions  Conduct the interview-- *if we have time, we can use the tape recorders  Transcribe-- *if we have time, we can use the tape recorders  Analysis  Write-up  Be aware that the target times listed are going to be adjusted

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