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soc 232 March 13.doc

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University of Saskatchewan
SOC 232
Stuart Leard

Soc 232 March 13 2013 1 Qualitative interviews compared to structured interviews Qualitative interviews Less structured More open-ended Greater interest in the interviewee’s perspectives and concerns Going off on tangents encouraged Flexible, may address topics introduced by the interviewee Rich, detailed answers sought Interviewee may be interviewed more than once Two major types of qualitative interview Unstructured The researcher uses only a brief set of points to introduce topics. The only thing defined is the broad topic of interest Conversational No more than a short interview guide May be only a single question Two major types of qualitative interview Semi-structured The researcher has a list of questions or topics to be covered. Offers a somewhat longer interview guide. Interviewees are free to reply in any way they choose. Questions may be asked out of order. New questions may be devised and asked on the spot. There is a clear focus on the topic of interest. Useful when more than one interviewer. Useful when there are several interviewees. Other variants of qualitative interviewing: Life history interviews Narrative interviews: one is asked to tell a story rather than answer questions. Oral history interviews (directed toward a specific event or era) Preparing an Interview Guide Lofland and Lofland (1995): ‘Just what about this thing is puzzling me?’ (Bryman et al. 2012 , 168) Always open to new issues that may arise. Establish some degree of loose order to the questioning process. Develop broad questions related to the research issues. Language that is understood by the participants. No leading questions. Prompts to ensure sufficient personal information about the individual participant is collected to contextualize the data. Soc 232 March 13 2013 2 Before the interview Familiarize oneself with the everyday surroundings of the interviewees in order to help contextualize the data. Have a good tape recorder and use it. Use a quiet and private setting for interviews. After the interview
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