Qualitative Interviews

Description

Interviewing involves asking questions and getting answers from participants in a study.  Interviewing has a variety of forms including: individual, face-to-face interviews and face-to-face group interviewing.  The asking and answering of questions can be mediated by the telephone or other electronic devices (e.g. computers). Interviews can be structured, semi-structure or unstructured.

Whether you are conducting a structured or unstructured interview, the development of the questions you ask takes into consideration:

  • the focus of your inquiry (research question),
  • what you want to learn from the person you’re speaking with,
  • how much time you have and the kind of access you have, and
  • how much you already know about your question, and how to manage this knowledge

All interview guides are developed iteratively – questions are developed, tested, and then refined based on what one learns from asking people these questions (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation 2014).

Software

MAXQDA is a software program designed for computer-assisted qualitative and mixed methods data, text and multimedia analysis in academic, scientific, and business institutions. Unlike most other CAQDAS, MAXQDA was not developed on the background of Grounded Theory. Instead the software is designed for both qualitative, quantitative research and (mixed methods research). The emphasis on going beyond qualitative research can be observed in the extensive attributes function (called variables in the program itself) and the ability of the program to deal relatively quickly with larger numbers of interviews (MAXQDA 2015).

The purpose of ATLAS.ti is to help researchers uncover and systematically analyze complex phenomena hidden in unstructured data (text, multimedia, geospatial). The program provides tools that let the user locate, code, and annotate findings in primary data material, to weigh and evaluate their importance, and to visualize the often complex relations between them (Lewins and Silver 2007).

Dedoose is an alternative to other qualitative data analysis software, explicitly aimed at facilitating rigorous mixed methods research. This program facilitates the coding and analysis of qualitative data and their integration with demographic and other quantitative data. Dedoose is in use by marketing, ethnographic, clinical trial, social policy, education, and other research professionals.

How to Learn Qualitative Interviews

Associations and Journals

International Journal of Qualitative Methods
The International Journal of Qualitative Methods  is a peer reviewed journal published as an open annual volume (formerly quarterly), web-based journal by the International Institute for Qualitative Methodology at the University of Alberta, Canada, and its international affiliates. Our goals are to advance the development of qualitative methods, and to disseminate methodological knowledge to the broadest possible community of academics, students, and professionals who undertake qualitative research.

Examples

image-service.asp“In The Hyper(in)visible Fat Woman, Gailey argues that women of size in North America occupy a paradoxical social position: as ‘fat’ women they receive exceptional (critical) attention, while simultaneously their subjectivity—in terms of their own needs, desires, and lives—is erased. In this way their experience veers painfully between the hypervisible and the hyperinvisible. Gailey seeks to explore this apparent paradox through a multidimensional analysis of in-depth interviews with 74 women of size, focusing on subjects such as dieting, health, sex and dating, and identity with the women’s experiences and voices at the forefront.”

More Information/Resources

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Written by: Janae Teal
Last updated: 20 January 2015

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