Conducting qualitative interviews: The gap between prescriptions and practice

Over the past year I have been examining archival records from the administration of the Federal Writers’ Project, a work relief scheme undertaken as part of the Works Progress Administration in the 1930s in the United States. I have been struck by the disparities in how different people enacted instructions provided to them with respect … Continue reading Conducting qualitative interviews: The gap between prescriptions and practice

Tips for formulating interview guides for semi-structured qualitative interviews (Part 2)

Developing interview guides goes hand-in-hand with reflecting on what you hope to learn. For any research study, you might start with two or research questions, and develop interview questions that will elicit information that will help you to examine the research questions posed. Here are a few more issues to think about as you develop … Continue reading Tips for formulating interview guides for semi-structured qualitative interviews (Part 2)

How to develop an interview guide (Part 1)

How do researchers take a topic and formulate a “good” interview guide? In this blogpost, I provide some tips for how to develop interview questions that (hopefully!) will facilitate rich, guided conversations in which interview participants discuss the topics that researchers want to examine. Considering the relationships between interviewers and interviewees First, researchers need to … Continue reading How to develop an interview guide (Part 1)

Tips for formulating interview questions

Asking questions of interviewees in ways that help them tell their stories is something of an art. It goes without saying that it is good practice to be well-prepared for interviews. This includes thinking about the physical setting for an interview and the technology one will need to record an interview. And there are so … Continue reading Tips for formulating interview questions

What to do when research interviews go awry…

Research interviews do not always proceed as anticipated. For example, the anthropologist, Evans-Pritchard (1972 [1940], pp. 12-13) reports on the difficulties he encountered with the Nuer people, with whom he conducted an ethnography in the 1930s. He comments that the “Nuer are expert at sabotaging an inquiry”, and provides the opening of a conversation with … Continue reading What to do when research interviews go awry…