Qualitative interviewing is a popular method in social research and it is often described as a conversation between interviewer and interviewee. It allows us to collect detailed and rich information about individuals’ lives, their experiences, behaviours, and how they understand and make sense of the world. The rich insight it provides into people’s lives is one of the benefits which the method offers over standardised surveys or questionnaires.
This introductory level course introduces participants to the method of qualitative interviewing. This includes its benefits, examples of effective interviewing, and the key ethical and practical issues to be considered. We look at types of qualitative interview which include structured, unstructured and semi-structured interviews. In particular, we explore the benefits of semi-structured interviewing which involves a combination of pre-set open ended questions with room for the exploration of other (sometimes unanticipated) topics. Participants gain experience of designing their own interview schedule and of conducting a semi-structured interview.
By the end of the workshop, participants will have knowledge of various forms of qualitative interview and theories of interviewing. They will be able to distinguish between various types of interviews and questioning. They will be aware of practical and ethical issues which must be considered prior to interviews. They will also be able to design their own semi-structured interview schedule and conduct a semi-structured interview.
- Understand the principles of qualitative interviewing
- Have knowledge of the structuring of interviews
- Be aware of the factors to be considered when designing a qualitative interview
- Be able to design a qualitative interview
- Be aware of the importance of building rapport with interviewees
- Have an awareness of the ethical and practical issues which must be considered.
- The benefits of qualitative interviews
- Types of qualitative interview including structured, unstructured and semi-structured interviews
- Designing and structuring a semi-structured interview schedule
- Conducting a semi-structured interview
- Questioning: open and closed
- Practical considerations (i.e. recording and transcription)
- The ethics of interviewing
- How to build relationships and rapport with interviewees.
Who will benefit?
This introductory course will be of value to researchers who already have a basic understanding of qualitative research methods but who wish to delve into the method of qualitative interviewing in more depth.
Dr Karen Lumsden is a sociologist and criminologist at the University of Aberdeen, UK. She has a PhD in Sociology from the University of Aberdeen and has held a number of academic posts including Assistant Professor at the University of Nottingham, Associate Professor at the University of Leicester, and at Loughborough University. She has over 15 years’ experience teaching qualitative research methods to doctoral students, academics, practitioners and social researchers. This includes courses at the Universities of Aberdeen, Glasgow, Essex, Kingston, Bristol, Cardiff, and for the Social Research Association. Karen has also designed and delivered research methods training for police officers and staff via the East Midlands Policing Academic Collaboration (EMPAC) and for research consultancies. She has authored a number of academic books and journal articles on qualitative research methods and is on the Editorial Board of the Qualitative Research journal.
This course contributes 6 hours to the MRS CPD programme