Interviewing by xiangpeng



      “I’m going to ask you a few

Interviews are used to get rich, detailed
   information to analyze
 Good for:
     Complex subject matter
     Detailed information sought
     Busy, high-status respondents
     Highly sensitive subject matter
What you are looking for:
•   How do things look and feel to persons?
•   What are the experiences of persons?
•   What are people’s expectations?
•   What features of their setting are most salient to
    the person?
•   What changes are people seeing in themselves
    given particular experiences?
•   When evaluating programs, what do powerful
    know about program operations, processes, and
    outcomes? What are their intentions?
     Take a list of questions and probes? (see Patton 7.2)
           Unstructured (oral history)
           Structured
           Semi-structured
     Audio or video record
     An example from my research:
In this interview, feel free to discuss anything as much as you want or to be as brief as you
       want. I would just like you to react to the questions as best you can.
I want to start by talking to you about your program experiences. I would like to get an
       overview of what attracted you to your summer program and how your participation may
       have affected your participation in SME, and your life in general.
First, let me start by asking you about that time just prior to your attending the Science Institute.

     What motivated you to attend your summer program? In other words, what were you
      hoping to gain from going?

           Did you get it? What is the primary thing you got from your program?

     Did you have an idea of the type of career you wanted to pursue at the time?

           Type of science or just science in general?

   Good interviewer skills:
       Attentive listener
       Articulate questioner
       Sensitive, empathetic, reflective (not
       Makes folks comfortable
   SETTINGS for interviews
       privacy
       no distractions, easy to hear
       comfortable
       nonthreatening
       easily accessible for respondents
       ensure quality recording can occur
       prevent telephone and visitor interruptions
       seating arrangement should encourage
        interaction and engagement

   Advantages:
       Usually yield richest data, details, insights
       Permits face-to-face contact
       Opportunity to explore topics in depth
       Can experience the affective as well as cognitive
        aspects of responses
       Allows clarification of questions, increasing
        likelihood of accurate responses
       Allows flexibility in ordering of information sought

   Disadvantages
       Expensive and time consuming
       Need well-qualified, highly trained interviewers
       Recall error, selective perceptions, desire to
        please interviewer
       Might find inconsistencies across interviews
       Large volume of information; may be difficult to
        transcribe and reduce data.
   Focus Groups
       A gathering of about 8 to 12 people who share
        some characteristics relevant to the evaluation
       Originally used as market research tool to
        investigate appeal of various products
       Combine elements of interviewing and
        participant observation
       Objective is to get high-quality data in a social
        context where people can consider their own
        views in the context of views of others, and
        where new ideas and perspectives can be
        introduced and reacted to
       For analysis purposes, should be considered
   Focus Groups
       A focus group is not a discussion group,
        problem-solving session, or decision-making
       Focus groups use group interaction to generate
        data and insights unlikely to emerge without
        group interaction
       Typically conducted in a “wired” room with an
        observation room next to it
       An official recorder may or may not be in the
       Sometimes payment and/or refreshments are
       Last no longer than 1 ½ to 2 hours
   Focus Groups
       Are a fast, economical way to generate data
       They are good when you need qualitative data
       They are especially good for conducting
        evaluations, they allow the same type of
        questions as interviews but in a social context.
        Evaluative applications include:
           Identifying and defining problems in project
           Identifying project strengths, weaknesses, and
           Assisting with interpretation of quantitative findings
           Obtaining perceptions of project outcomes and
           Generating new ideas
   Focus Groups
       Focus group has a moderator with a topic guide,
        a list of topics or question areas, serving as a
        summary statement of the issues and objectives
        to be covered by the focus group, and an outline
        for the report of findings.
       Group participants reflect on questions asked by
        moderator. They are permitted to hear each
        others’ responses, respond, make more
        comments, etc. There is not need for
        consensus, nor must people disagree.
       Moderator keeps discussion flowing and doesn’t
        allow any person(s) to dominate it.
   Composition of Focus Groups
       Relatively homogenous groups
       Mixing different persons is acceptable if the mix
        will not affect the outcome
            Mixed-sex discussing topic affected by sex stereotypes
            Mixed-race discussing topic affected by race
       Rule of thumb is to conduct at least two groups
        for every variable believed relevant to the
            Sex
            Age
            Education level

     What’s best?
Factor                   Focus Group                    Interviews
                         Interaction of respondents     Group interaction is likely
                         may stimulate a richer         to be limited or
Group Interaction
                         response or new and            nonproductive
                         valuable thought
                         Peer pressure will be
                                                        Peer pressure would
                         valuable in challenging the
Group/peer pressure                                     inhibit responses and
                         thinking of respondents
                                                        distort the meaning of
                         and highlighting conflicting
                                                        Subject is so sensitive that
                         Subject not sensitive
Sensitivity of Subject                                  respondents would not
                         enough to stifle responses
Matter                                                  talk in a group

     What’s best?
Factor                    Focus Group                   Interviews
                          Topic allows most             Topic demands greater
                          respondents to give           depth of response as with
Depth of Responses
                          relevant information in       more complex subject
                          less than 10 minutes          matter or knowledgeable
                          With only one individual to   With numerous
Data collection fatigue
                          collect data, a few groups    interviewers, data can be
                          will not be a hassle          collected without problem

Number of issues          Very few issues are going     A large number of issues
                          to be covered                 must be covered

      What’s best?
Factor                   Focus Group                    Interviews
                         A single subject is covered    It is necessary to
                         extensively, but “strings of   understand how attitudes
Continuity of
                         behaviors” are not             and behavior link together
                         relevant                       on an individual basis
Stability of interview   Enough is known to             It may be necessary to
guide                    establish a topic guide        alter the interview guide
                                                        over time

Geography                Participants can be            Participants are dispersed
                         assembled in one place         or not easily assembled

                         Quick turnaround is            Quick turnaround is not
Cost and training        necessary and limited          critical and budget will
                         funds                          permit higher cost

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