How to Conduct a Research Interview

Interviewing may be defined simply as a conversation with a purpose. Specifically, the purpose is to gather information. (Berg, & Lune, 2011) As a qualitative research method, it contains two stages - data collection and data analysis.

Development Guideline

  • Determine the nature and objectives of your interview: list all the broad categories you feel may be relevant to your study.
  • Refine the list.
  • Develop sets of questions relevant to each of the outlined categories.
  • Create a conceptual table.

Interview Process

  1. Start with a few easy, demographic questions.
  2. Next begin with some of the more important questions for the study topic.
  3. Ask validating questions (questions restating important or sensitive questions, worded differently than previously asked)
  4. Begin the next important topic or conceptual area of questions.
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4, and so on through your major topics.
  6. Finalize the interview with an open-ended question, such as "Oh, by the way, before we end the interview, is there any thing you want to address?"

Rubrics for Interview Questions

  • 20pts - The goals and objectives of the interview should be explained with one paragraph or two.
  • 30pts -Develop the conceptual table
  • 20pts - The questions must reflect an awareness that individuals understand the subjects in varying ways.
  • 10pts - The questions must be formulated in words familiar to the people being interviewed (in vocabularies of the subjects).
  • 10pts - The number of questions should be controlled under 15.
  • 10pts - Avoid simple yes/no questions, such as "do you like playing game", "what is your favorite color" and etc.

A Few Common Problems in Question Formulation

  • Affectively Worded Questions
  • The Double-Barreled Question
  • Complex Questions
  • Confirmation Bias