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Research Methods Lecture 15 Interviews

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Courtney Thomas

on 20 December 2016

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Transcript of Research Methods Lecture 15 Interviews

Conducting Interviews
Be prepared!
Space, time, materials
Introduce yourself and your project
Limit distractions
Interview one person at a time
Be conversational
Carefully plan original questions
Maintain eye contact
Take whatever they give you
Take notes (recording?)
Follow up re: notes
If confidentiality is promised, every effort must be made to be sure that it is maintained
Even if that means NOT using information
If confidentiality is not promised, be aware of what you publish in your final results
Specialized Interviewing
Elite Interviewing
Elite subjects have knowledge relative to a specific research question that requires that they get individualized treatment
Concerns their access to information
In a survey, the questions are standardized
In an elite interview, they are tailored specifically to the individual and are open-ended and un-scheduled
the researcher is guided by a general objective
Remember that each respondent has something different to contribute
Quality and quantity
Identify potential subjects
Order them, usually with the more marginal figures first and the most central figures last
Learn from each interview going forward
Remember that each subject will likely know the others
Do NOT let the subjects choose the methodology
Elite Interviews
Elite interviews involve in-depth, one-on-one conversations with respondents
Not designed to collect data for a quantitative analysis as in survey research
A qualitative technique designed to get a deep understanding of a phenomenon or dynamic
Research Methods
PSCI 2024
Winter 2016
Dr. Courtney Thomas
Lecture 15: Interview Methodologies

Benefits and Limitations
Great way to get information from an expert
Creates a validity risk
"Too close" to the dynamic
Lie to protect themselves or others
Rationalized their actions
Completely unreliable (if doing multiple elite interviews for the same project)
Arranging Interviews
Get IRB approval
Arrange in advance
Usually have to explain the project
Speak with the person to be interviewed if at all possible
Not an intermediary
Try to work around refusals
Be able to verify your qualifications and the legitimacy of your work
Cannot assume that the researchers and respondents share a common vocabulary
Involve respondents who may require extra accommodations
May require a different approach
Improving Validity
Do not treat what the subjects say as fact but treat the fact that they said it as data
Obtain information about each event from as many respondents as possible
Verify information from elite interviews with other sources
Learn enough about the subject to be able to recognize incorrect statements or bias
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