Interviews for academic research
This session will begin by exploring the origins and use of interviews in academic research. It will then examine the types of research interview available, and the strengths and weaknesses of each. Consideration will also be given to some of the more widely used approaches to qualitative interviewing (including oral history and life story interviews) and when each of these approaches is best applied. Informed by these insights, this first part of the workshop will finish with participants exploring the most appropriate type(s) of interview to use for their particular research question.
The second part of the session will examine the key phases involved in the interview process. This will cover preparation work, including interviewee selection and pre-interview communication, before exploring the process of conducting the interview itself. Here attention will be given to the role of the interviewer and practices for generating good quality data. The post-interview phase, including transcription, data interpretation and analysis, will also be addressed, along with the subjects of data storage, data protection and research ethics. The workshop will conclude by exploring how other methods can be used to complement the insights provided by interviews and the role of the pilot study in testing research methods and design.
By the end of this workshop, participants will:
Appreciate the role of the interview as a method of academic research
Recognise the different types of interview and their relative strengths and weaknesses
Have considered which type of interview would be best applied to their research
Understand the key phases of the interview process - from initial preparation to data analysis
Have considered other methods that could be used to complement the data generated by interviews
Appreciate the role of the pilot study in testing interview methods and research design
Gained an understanding of the importance of ethics in qualitative research and how these relate to the specifics of the research interview.