Ch: 10 Interviewing in Qualitative Research
- interview the most widely used method in qualitative research
o ethnography involves qualitative interviewing-
o can do qualitative interviews without an ethnographic study
- Qualitative research preferred because of flexibility, its economy of time and
effort relative to ethnography
- Interviewing, transcribing interviews, and analysis of transcripts although time
consuming. But better then spending long time research subjects.
- Types of qualitative interviews:
o Semi structured
- Differences between structured and unstructured
o In quantitative research-> highly structured to maximize reliability and
validity in measuring key concepts. Has specific sets of research
questions. In qualitative interviewing-> less structured, open minded.
Allows greater freedom to modify and add research ideas.
o In qualitative -Interviewees perspectives and concerns are taken into
consideration. Quantitative research-> interview driven by research
agenda of the person conducting the research.
o Qualitative-> Going off tangents encouraged. Unplanned questions can be
asked. Order and wordings of questions can vary- Depends on what the
interviewee considers important and relevant. Quantitative Research->
follow a specific research plan with no variations in wordings or order of
questions, doing so will affect reliability and validity.
o Qualitative-> flexible, varies on the direction the interviewee takes the
interview, adjusting emphasis, as a result of issues emerging during the
interview. Quantitative-> inflexible structured interviews- to standardize
the interactions with all interviewees.
o Qualitative -> researcher wants detailed answers. Quantitative-> designed
to generate specific answers that can be coded and processed quickly.
o Qualitative-> uncommon for interviewee to be interviewed more then
once Quantitative-> unless research is longitudinal, personal usually
interviewed once only.
- Unstructured and semi structured interviewing: (referred to as in-depth
o Unstructured interview- uses Aide memoire, a small set of self prompts to
investigate certain topics. May be a single question asked, allowing the
interview to respond freely. Similar to a normal conversation
o Semi- structured interview: a list of questions or fairly specific topics to be
covered, as an interview guide. Interviewee still has a lot of leeway to
respond. Questions may vary in order. Some questions may be excluded-
based on interviewees previous responses. Questions have similar
o Unstructured and semi-structured interviewing designed to bring out how
the interviewees themselves interpret and make sense of issue and events.
o Bell- wanted to understand what western- Canadian separatists thought of
Canadian federalism and federal party system.
o Tastsoglou- meaning of community from the perspective of immigrant
o Smith- meaning of pain for professional wrestlers.o Malbon used unstructured interview to study clubbers
o Lupton used semi structured interviews to study Australian food
o Beardsworth and Keil- used semi structured interviews to investigate
food-related issues particularly in vegetarianism.
- Quantitative studies test researchers hypothesis
- The choice between semi and unstructured depends on:
o Researcher who wants to access all of the world views of members of a
social setting favor unstructured interview. Rarely completely
unstructured. Usually has a general topic to be discussed.
o Semi structured used when researcher has a clear focus, rather then
general. To address more specific issues.
o To ensued comparability of interviewing styles- if more then one person is
to carry out fieldwork- semi structured interview used.
o Multiple case study- needs structure to ensure cross case comparability.
- preparing an interview guide
o is much shorter and less detailed then a structured interview schedule.
o Usually a brief list of memory prompts for areas to be covered in
o The actual questioning is flexible- allowing participants to speak freely
and reveal their view of their social world.
o Ask what about this thing is puzzling me?
o Puzzlement can occur by activities such as: random thoughts in different
contexts written down as quickly as possible, discussions with colleagu