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Chapter 12

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Department
Sociology
Course
SOC221H5
Professor
Lingqin Feng
Semester
Fall

Description
Chapter 12 - Qualitative Interviewing Introduction Research Questions Appropriate for Qualitative Interviewing  Social science researchers use less structured, nondirective, in-depth interviews, which differ from formal survey research interviews  Joint production of a researcher and an interviewee  Qualitative interviewing is often used in field research (in addition to other data- collection techniques)  Qualitative interviews go by many names: unstructured, semi-structured, in-depth, ethnographic, open-ended (opposite of Y/N questions), informal, and long  Focus is on the members’ perspectives and experiences Similarities and Differences b/w Qualitative Interviews & Friendly Conversation  Starts informally (friendly conversations) and then lead the interviewee with research questions (lec.)  Qualitative interviews have a purpose – to learn about the informant and setting (different from friendly conversations)  Qualitative interviews begin by obtaining consent from the interviewee  Repetition is included to ensure that the researcher’s interpretation is correct  The researcher expresses more interest and ignorance  Much less balance – majority of questions are asked by the interviewer  Asking about abbreviations and jargon so there is no misunderstanding  Pauses used by the interviewer to get the interviewee to elaborate on a previous point  Formal closing that acknowledges that the interview is over The Procedure of Qualitative Interviewing Sampling in Qualitative Interviews  Snowball sampling, purposive sampling are often used for recruiting potential interviewees  topics through qualitative interviews don’t easily lend themselves to probability sampling (which needs a sampling frame)  Ex: exotic dancers selected through purposive sampling so that as much diversity as possible was incorporated  Ex: participants recruited from snowball sampling for the study of street youth  Ex: snowball sampling used in the study of mothers using daycare facilities in Quebec  Researchers studying hidden populations often rely on nonprobability sampling techniques, particularly snowball techniques How many People to Interview?  Qualitative interviews is inductive in nature – theory is derived from data  Theoretical sampling: a research does not know in advance how many individuals he/she needs to interview  Theoretical saturation: the researcher continues to interview subjects until the same general themes continue to emerge from the data and no new findings are being revealed  Number of people interviewed in a study is usually dictated by the time & resources available to the researcher  1 hr interview takes about 6 hrsto transcribe Incentives  Incentive: a general term for the remuneration given to research participants, often in the form of cash (should be appropriate to your target sample) Interview Sites  Private office, member’s home environment  Ex: street youth interviewed in malls Recording and Transcribing  Audio-recording, jotting notes  Selective transcription: a transcription technique in qualitative interviews where only the parts of interviews that the researcher deems most relevant are transcribed  Transcribing should be done as soon as possible after the interview Informants  Informant: a general term that is used to refer to individuals who participate in qualitative research projects  Four characteristics: i. Informant is familiar with the culture and is in a position to witness significant events ii. Currently involved in the culture iii. Can spend some time with the researcher iv. Nonanalytical individuals  is familiar with and uses native folk theory/pragmatic common sense Asking Questions in Qualitative Interviews Kvale Question Types i. Introducing question: general opening questions in which the interviewee is prompted to give his/her account of a situation/experience ii. Follow-up questions: questions asked to get additional description about topics just discussed by the interviewee iii. Probing questions: types of questions used by an interviewer to expand on incomplete points he/she has raised iv. Specifying questions: questions to get more detailed descriptions about specific aspects of the interviewee’s descriptions v. Direct questions: questions introduced toward the end of the interview in order to address specific topics that may not have been covered vi. Indirect questions: questions asked in order to get a sense of how the interviewee believes other people think, behave, or feel vii. Structuring questions: questions to keep the interview on track if it has gone off topic, or to keep the interview moving along vi
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