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Conducting Good Interviews

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Michael Osborn

on 11 January 2013

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Transcript of Conducting Good Interviews

Conducting Good Interviews: Getting information quickly amd efficiently when you want an INFORMED opinion. Where do I start? When planning the interview, ask yourself: What do I WANT to discover?
Who would truly be the best interviewee?
What are my own biases about this topic?
How can I be sure my biases are not reflected?
What do I EXPECT to discover? Ethical considerations Always have permission to interview.
CAREFULLY word difficult or sensitive questions.
Don't be biased; consider both sides.
Let subjects know their words will not be anonymous.
Report ACCURATELY. Don't take words out of context or provide small parts of an answer. Types of Interviews Face-to-face: Phone: E-mail: Chat/messaging: Adaptable. Personal. Bring a RECORDING DEVICE; have a backup plan as well. If person is far away, too busy to meet in person, or not able/willing to use the internet. Convenient digital format. However, not personal, hard to be adaptable. Text or video. Adaptable and good for long distance. Downfall? Takes technology know-how. Some do's and dont's DO... be careful when writing questions
start the interview with some small talk
bring back-up recording equipment/plan B
pay attention and follow up
be prepared. Do background research and write questions that show it DON'T... DON'T... push too far (respect your interviewee)
stick rigidly to your list of questions
allow the person you're interviewing to continually get off topic Some Common PITFALLS to avoid Over generalizing Biased reporting Correlation vs. causation Ignoring related
factors Relying on untrustworthy sources Reported behavior vs. actual behavior Interview questions to AVOID are: Biased questions Questions that
assume what they ask Double barreled questions Confusing or wordy questions Questions that don't relate to
what you want to learn. Ethical guidelines: Making a sweeping generalization about a group of people based solely on one (or a few) interviews If you ask biased (loaded) questions, you will get a biased interview--which leads to a biased article. The fact that two things are related does not prove that one is the cause of the other. Example: Video games & voilence. Sometimes good reporting is time consuming, even exhausting. But our job is to find TRUTH, which requires us to view an event or issue from multiple angles. We must be honest with ourselves about who our sources are. Are they taking the interview seriously? Do they know enough about the issue to merit being cited in our paper? We also have to consider, sometimes, whether or not we believe our interviewees are being honest. Biased question: Don't you agree that campus parking is a problem?
Revised question: Is parking on campus a problem? Biased question: There are many people who believe that campus parking is a problem. Are you one of them?
Revised question: Do you agree or disagree that campus parking is a problem? Double-barreled question: Do you agree that campus parking is a problem and that the administration should be working diligently on a solution?
Revised question: Is campus parking a problem? (If the participant responds yes): Should the administration be responsible for solving this problem? Confusing questions: What do you think about parking? (This is confusing because the question isn't clear about what it is asking--parking in general? The person's ability to park the car? Parking on campus?) Do you believe that the parking situation on campus is problematic or difficult because of the lack of spaces and the walking distances or do you believe that the parking situation on campus is ok? (This question is both very wordy and leads the participant.)

Revised question: What is your opinion of the parking situation on campus? Unrelated questions: Have you ever encountered problems in the parking garage on campus? Do you like or dislike the bus system?
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