As part of the unit on qualitative methodology, you need to know and understand interview considerations. A consideration is a factor that must be thought about (i.e. considered) by a researcher when they’re planning, conducting and reporting an interview in qualitative research.

Here’s the learning outcome for this topic:

Discuss considerations involved before, during and after an interview (for example, sampling method, data recording, traditional versus postmodern transcription, debriefing).

Here is a list of possible interview considerations that may be relevant to a qualitative study using interviews:

  • Interviewer effects
  • Planning the Interview Guide
  • Data recording
  • Transcription Method (Traditional vs. Postmodern)
  • Debriefing

The following factor might also be considered, and these are useful factors to focus on because they may be applied to multiple exam questions, so I would recommend ensuring that you aim to develop a deep understanding of these four concepts:

  • Sampling method
  • Reflexivity
  • Triangulation
  • Ethical considerations

Key Concepts Explained

Interviewer effects: The ways in which an interviewer can indirectly influence the interviewee’s behaviour. For example, the gender, age, ethnicity or other relevant characteristic of the interviewer might have an influence in how comfortable the interviewee feels about revealing information to them.

Interview guide: a plan of the interview, including themes and possible questions. This will vary depending on the type of interview conducted (focus group, semi-structured or narrative).

Data recording: how the responses of participants in interviews will be recorded (tape recorder,  video, pen/paper, or all?)

Transcription: Getting the interview data (i.e. interviewee responses) into written form. If they have been tape recorded this means listening to the tapes and writing out the responses.

Traditional transcription: taking the data from one form and copying only the words of the interview.

Postmodern transcription: including the copied data not only the words of the interview, but other non-verbal cues as well such as pauses, body languages, sighs, etc. The data recording might influence the process of postmodern transcription. for example, if the interview has been tape recorded but not videoed, physical gestures will not be able to be included in the transcription.

Debriefing: the process of revealing the aims and findings of the research after it has been conducted. This is an important step in ensuring a study has been carried out ethically.

Reflexivity: The process of a researcher being aware of all the possible ways in which they can influence the research process and so they reflect and think about this in order to minimize the chances that their bias will interfere with the research.

Personal reflexivity: When the researcher reflects on the ways in which their qualities  may influence the research process.

Triangulation: When more than one data source and/or researcher are used in the collection and/or analysis of data.

Data Triangulation: Obtaining more than one set of data. E.g. Gathering data from different groups of participants, different locations, or at different times.

Researcher triangulation: Having more than one research collecting and/or analysing the data.

Methodological triangulation: Gathering data by using more than one research method. e.g. Observations and questionnaires.