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A QUALITATIVE RESEARCH METHOD Depth/intensive interviewing.

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Presentation on theme: "A QUALITATIVE RESEARCH METHOD Depth/intensive interviewing."— Presentation transcript:

1 A QUALITATIVE RESEARCH METHOD Depth/intensive interviewing

2 Depth/intensive interviews An interview is “a conversation between a researcher (someone who wishes to gain information about a subject) and an informant (someone who presumably has information of interest on the subject).”  (Berger, Media and communication research methods)

3 Why use depth/intensive interviewing? Intensive interviewing is used to develop a comprehensive picture of the respondent’s background, attitudes and actions  Open-ended questions  Varies from structured to unstructured  Interviews can be lengthy  Could be hours in length  Becomes similar to a directed conversation  Requires active probing of responses

4 Why use depth/intensive interviewing? When you are uncertain what the most significant issues in an area of study are, a depth interview with an expert or a typical group member can be especially valuable  Few assumptions prior to gathering data  Get as much information as possible from especially valuable sources  Information-rich method

5 Why use depth/intensive interviewing? Can gain insights you had not imagined prior to the interview  Often respondents will hit you with something you had not expected Can follow the internal logic of respondent’s thinking rather than imposing one from outside  Map the ways that people form their understanding of the topic Can learn the actual language, metaphors, etc. respondents use to discuss topics

6 Why use depth/intensive interviewing? Depth interviews allow for the development of the greatest levels of rapport between interviewer and respondent  If respondent is uncomfortable or unwilling to provide information in other formats, this may be the best way to gather that info Greatest interviewer ability to help/guide the respondent  Respondents with limited language skills, uncertainty of research protocols, etc.

7 Why use depth/intensive interviewing? Experts/famous people, etc. may be unwilling to sit still for traditional closed-ended questionnaire  The depth interview format often suits them, allows them to demonstrate their expertise  Much of what they gain from the research is that opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge  Recognition of their knowledge and expertise

8 What’s the catch? The intensive interview demands a great deal of time and effort It is not easily passed along to professional data collection providers  Need for significant knowledge/understanding to carry out the interview  Skill in interviewing is crucial Potential for bias is great Safety concerns Data analyses are difficult and time-consuming  No two interviews are identical, so ‘adding up’ responses is difficult and perhaps invalid

9 Preparing for the interview Study the topic  Know the language used to describe the content area  Know about the respondent, if possible Plan an outline of topics to cover in an interview Be ready to begin interviewing at any point from initial contact on Provide a compelling reason why the person should be willing to talk to you  Expert respondents could tell you “I make $1,000 an hour and you are on the clock”

10 Sampling Random selection of informants is rare  ‘Typical’ group members  Experts  Demanding respondents  People who have had unusual experiences Select interviewees who  Are knowledgeable on the subject of interest  Are willing to talk  Represent a range of perspectives from within a group

11 How many interviews do I need? Selection of new respondents should continue until a saturation point is reached, that is, until new interviews yield little additional information

12 Establishing and maintaining rapport Do not violate standards of social behavior  Show respect for interviewee  Do not react in a negative manner to what she/he says  Demonstrate your appreciation for the time and effort the respondent provides you  Assure the informant of confidentiality Before beginning the interview, explain clearly your purpose for asking the questions

13 Asking questions and recording answers Plan questions around an outline (but be flexible) Begin with a question relating to the respondent’s experience/relationship with the topic For specific information, make questions short and to the point  Don’t waste your respondent’s time To gain insight into respondent’s views, provide questions that are open platforms drawing her into the topic and letting her provide context, elucidate, etc.  “Grand Tour” questions  “What problems have you had with your broadband connection?”

14 Use nondirective probes Follow-up questions should be tailored to answers  Clarifications should be specific—not “What do you mean?”  “When you mentioned that you had difficulty setting up your Second Life account, what were you referring to?”  When a respondent is ‘on a roll’ do not try to change direction  Unless the respondent is simply repeating himself/herself

15 Data collection Tape recorders are a good idea and usually are ignored  Make sure you are recording!  Constant note-taking is a distraction However, some respondents will give away good information when the tape recorder gets turned off

16 Triangulation Depth interviews are often useful in concert with other methods  Combining participant observation and intensive interviewing can deepen understanding  May follow up an experiment with depth interviews  May call back selected survey participants to conduct depth interviews  Etc.

17 Sources used:  Schutt, R. K. (2004). Investigating the Social World, (4 th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge.

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