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"Definition" - The qualitative research interview seeks to describe and the meanings of central themes in the life world

of the subjects. The main task in interviewing is to understand the meaning of what the interviewees say.(Kvale Interviewing, when considered as a method for conducting qualitative research, is a technique used to understand the experiences of others.[1] Interviewing differs from other methods of data collection in that it is often more exploratory in nature, and allows for more flexibility. Interviewing stems from the desire to know more about the people around us and to better understand how the people around us view the world we live in: At the heart of interviewing research is an interest in other individuals stories because they are of worth.[1] Thus interviewing is most effective when the goal of said research is to gain insight into the subjective understanding[1] of those around us. By asking participants why we are enabled to not only observe their behavior but to subsequently understand the meaning that underlies that behavior, and to have this meaning explained to us in the participants own words[1]

Aspects of qualitative research interviews

impressions. Interviews are time consuming and they are resource intensive. The interviewer is considered a part of the measurement instrument and interviewer has to be well trained in how to respond to any contingency. Interviews are completed by the interviewer based on what the interviewee says. Interviews are a far more personal form of research than questionnaires. In the personal interview, the interviewer works directly with the interviewee. Unlike with mail surveys, the interviewer has the opportunity to probe or ask follow up questions. Interviews are generally easier for the interviewee, especially if what is sought are opinions and/or

When choosing to interview as a method for conducting qualitative research, it is important to be tactful and sensitive in your approach. Interviewer and researcher, Irving Seidman, devotes an entire chapter of his book, Interviewing as Qualitative Research, to the import of proper interviewing technique and interviewer etiquette. Some of the fundamentals of his technique are summarized below: Listening: According to Seidman, this is both the hardest as well as the most important skill in interviewing. Furthermore, interviewers must be prepared to listen on three different levels: they must listen to what the participant is actually saying, they must listen to the inner voice [2] or subtext of what the participant is communicating, and they must also listen to the process and flow of the interview so as to remain aware of how tired or bored the participant is as well as logistics such as how much time has already passed and how many questions still remain.[2] The listening skills required in an interview require more focus and attention to detail than what is typical in normal conversation. Therefore it is often helpful for interviewers to take notes while the participant responds to questions or to tape-record the interviews themselves to as to be able to more accurately transcribe them later.[2] Ask questions (to follow up and to clarify): While an interviewer generally enters each interview with a predetermined, standardized set of questions, it is important that they also ask follow-up questions throughout the process. Such questions might encourage a participant to elaborate upon something poignant that theyve shared and are important in acquiring a more comprehensive understanding of the subject matter. Additionally, it is important that an interviewer ask clarifying questions when they are confused. If the narrative, details, or chronology of a participants responses become unclear, it is often appropriate f or the interviewer to ask them to re-explain these aspects of their story so as to keep their transcriptions accurate.[2] Be respectful of boundaries: Seidman explains this tactic as Explore, dont probe, [2] It is essential that while the participant is being interviewed they are being encouraged to explore their experiences in a manner that is sensitive and respectful. They should not be probed in such a way that makes them feel uncomfortable or like a specimen in lab. If too much time is spent dwelling on minute details or if too many follow-up questions are asked, it is possible that the participant will become defensive or unwilling to share. Thus, it is the interviewers job to strike a balanc e between ambiguity and specificity in their question asking

Strengths and Weaknesses

When considering what type of qualitative research method to use, Qualitative Interviewing has many advantages. Possibly the greatest advantage of Qualitative Interviewing is the depth of detail from the interviewee. Interviewing participants can paint a picture of what happened in an specific event, tell us their perspective of such event, as well as give other social cues. Social cues, such as voice, intonation, body language etc. of the interviewee can give the interviewer a lot of extra information that can be added to the verbal answer of the interviewee on a question. This level of detailed description, whether it be verbal or nonverbal, can show an otherwise hidden interrelatedness between emotions, people, objects unlike many quantitative methods of research. [3] In addition, Qualitative Interviewing has a unique advantage in its specific form. Researchers can tailor the questions they ask to the respondent in order to get rich, full stories and the information they need for their project. They can make it clear to the respondent when they need more examples or explanations. [4] Not only can researchers also learn about specific events, they can also gain insight into peoples interior experiences, specifically how people perceive and how they interpreted their perceptions. How events affected their thoughts and feelings. In this, researchers can understand the process of an event instead of what just happened and how they reacted to it. Another advantage of Qualitative interviewing is what it can give to the readers of academic journals and papers. Research can write a clearer report to their readers, giving them a fuller understanding of the experiences of our responden ts and a greater chance to identify with the respondent, if only briefly. [3] Now Qualitative Interviewing is not a perfect method for all types of research. It does have its disadvantages. First, there can be complications with the planning of the interview. Not only is recruiting people for interviews hard, due to the typically personal nature of the interview, planning where to meet them and when can be difficult. Participants can cancel or change the meeting place at the last minute. During the actual interview, a possible weakness is missing some information. This can arise from the immense multitasking that the interviewer must do. Not only do they have to make the respondent feel very comfortable, they have to keep as much eye contact as possible, write down as much as they can, and think of follow up questions. After the interview, the process of coding begins and with this comes its own set of disadvantages. First, coding can be extremely time consuming. This process typically requires multiple people, which can also become expensive. Second, the nature of qualitative research itself, doesnt lend itself very well to quantitative analysis. Some researchers report more missing data in interview research than survey research, therefore it can be difficult to compare populations[3]

How it feels to be a participant in qualitative research interviews

Compared to something like a written survey, interviews allow for a significantly higher degree of intimacy,[5] with participants often revealing personal information to their interviewers in a real-time, face-to-face setting. As such, this technique can evoke an array of significant feelings and experiences within those being interviewed. On the positive end, interviewing can provide participants with an outlet to express themselves. Since the job of interviewers is to learn, not to treat or counsel, they do not offer participants any advice, but nonetheless, telling an attentive listener about concerns and cares can be pleasing. As qualitative researcher Robert S. Weiss puts it, To talk to someone who listens, and listens closely, can be valuable, because ones own experience, through the process of being voiced and shared, is validated. [6] Such validation, however, can have a downside if a participant feels let down upon termination of the interview relationship,[7] for, unlike with figures like therapists or counselors, interviewers do not take a measure of ongoing responsibility for the participant, and their relationship is not continuous.[8] To minimize the potential for this disappointment, researchers should tell participants how many interviews they will be conducting in advance, and also provide them with some type of closure, such as a research summary or a copy of the project publication.[9] On the negative end, the multiple-question based nature of interviews can lead participants to feel uncomfortable and intruded upon if an interviewer encroaches on territory that they feel is too personal or private. To avoid crossing this line, researchers should attempt to distinguish between public information and private information, and only delve deeper into private information after trying to gauge a participants comfort level in discussing it. [8] Furthermore, the comparatively intimate nature of interviews can make participants feel vulnerable to harm or exploitation. This can be especially true for situations in which a superior interviews a subordinate, like when teacher interviewers his or her student. In these situations, participants may be fearful of providing a wrong answer, or saying something that could potentially get them into trouble and reflect on them negatively. [11] However, all interview relationships, not just explicitly superiorsubordinate ones, are marked by some degree of inequality, as interviewers and participants want and receive different things from the technique.[12] Thus, researchers should always be concerned with the potential for participant feelings of vulnerability, especially in situations where personal information is revealed.

In order to combat such feelings of vulnerability and inequity and to make participants feel safe, equal, and respected, researchers should provide them with information about the study, such as who is running it and what potential risks it might entail, and also with information about their rights, such as the right to review interview materials and withdraw from the process at any time. It is especially important that researchers always emphasize the voluntary nature of participating in a study so that the participants remain aware of their agency.[13] These aforementioned power dynamics present in interviews can also have specific effects on different social groups according to racial background, gender, age, and class. Race, for example, can pose issues in an interview setting if participants of a marginalized racial background are interviewed by white researchers, [14] in which case the existence of historical and societal prejudices can evoke a sense of skepticism and distrust.[15] Gender dynamics can similarly affect feelings, with men sometimes acting overbearingly when interviewing women and acting dismissively when being interviewed by women, and same-gendered pairs being vulnerable to false assumptions of commonality or a sense of implicit competition. [16] In terms of class, participants of perceived lower status demonstrate, in some cases, either excessive skepticism or excessive submissiveness, and in terms of age, children and seniors may exhibit fears of being patronized.[17] In order to minimize these social group related negative feelings, researchers should remain sensitive to possible sources of such tensions, and act accordingly by emphasizing good manners, respect, and a genuine interest in the participant, all of which can all help bridge social barriers. [15] Lastly, another aspect of interviews that can affect how a participant feels is how the interviewer expresses his or her own feelings, for interviewers can project their moods and emotions onto those they are interviewing. For instance, if an interviewer feels noticeably uncomfortable, the participant may begin to share this discomfort,[18] and if an interviewer expresses anger, he or she is in danger of passing it on to the participant. So, researchers should try to remain calm, polite, and interested at all times.

The Different Types of Interviews

If you are new to interviews, or it has been some time since you have had one, you may be under the impression that if youve seen one, youve them them all. So you may be in for a big surpise the next time you set foot in a potential employers office. Todays interviews can range from one -on-one conversations to sit down meeings with an HR coordinator to informal informational interviews and even group interviews. And thats just for starters . If you want to be successful in all types of job interviews, you must first have a clear understanding of the different interview styles and what is expected of you during each of them. But no matter what you learn about each particular interview style below, there are some similarities between all of them anticipate questions, develop your answers and practice makes perfect. Articles such as this one and other can give you guidelines, but you need to learn how to adapt them to yourself so you arent gi ving the employer the same answers as everybody else. And remember to sell yourself, your qualifications and your skills at all times.

The Informational Interview

An informational interview is not a job interview. It is a chance for interested individuals to meet with a professional to gather industry and career information and advice to help determine if the career is worth pursuing. In addition, it allows the individual to begin establishing contacts and a network for future employment opportunities. Even though these types of interviews are less stressful than regular interviews, you should still come prepared. Here are a few tips for informational interviews: 1. Arrive prepared. You dont want to waste your time or the employers. Do your research in advanc e and have questions ready about the industry, company, field and the position of the person you are meeting with. 2. When other contacts are given to you, make sure the person is comfortable with you using their name as a reference. 3. When the interview is over, make sure to shake hands and leave your contact info and a resume. 4. Follow up with a thank you note in the next day or two.

Screening Interview
Some places are easier to get your foot in the door than others. In some cases, you will have to get by a Human Resources professional before you get to the person who is actually doing the hiring. The purpose of the HR professional is to weed out the duds. But if you can get by them, chances are you will be meeting with a decision maker in the company. When screening, HR profeesionals are looking for employment gaps and inconsistent information. They may also inquire about salary requirements to see if the company can afford you, or if you are asking for more than you are worth. When asked this question, it is recommended that you stick to a simple answer such as "I would be willing to consider your best offer."

Screening interviews are also done over the phone. Again, this is a process used to eliminate job seekers based on standard requirements such as experience, education and skill sets. It is good practice when actively seeking a new job to keep a copy of your resume and references by the phone.

Audition Interview
Some jobs may require a bit of an audition. This is common practice for positions such as computer programming. The purpose is to evaluate your skills on the fly. In an audition interview, you have the unique opportunity to strut your stuff and prove your abilities by demonstrating your knowledge of particular tasks associated with the job. For an audition type interview, you should always: 1. Practice as many possible skills you posses that are requirements for the job prior to the interview. 2. Ask for clarification on anything that is unclear during the exercise. It is better to ask questions that to be doing something incorrectly because you were confused about directions.

Group Interview
In a group interview you will be along side other candidates. This is your chance to demonstrate your leadership potential, communication skills and how well you work with others. Sometimes, you may even be challenged to solve a problem as a group and be asked to work as a team to solve the problem. This allows those interviewing to help determine if you are reserved, pushy or have a balance between offering and listening to ideas. This is perhaps one of the most overwhelming interviews and is easy to get lost in the rest of the faces. Here are a few tips to help you stand out: 1. Speak to everybody in the group with respect, regardless of how much they are contributing to the cause. Always be polite even if other people are not. 2. Do your best to avoid power struggles. They will only result in the interviewers forming a negative opinion about you, perhaps one of childishness and inexperience.

Tag Team Interview

As if interviewing with one person wasnt hard enough, tag team interviews are even more difficult. They have multiple parties interview one person you. The purpose of the tag team interview is to get insight from others who work in or for the company. They are not only looking for the usual background, education and experience, but how you get along with various members of the team. Here are some tips to help with success: 1. Ask for each persons business card at the beginning of the meeting. This will help you address t hem by name when required. 2. Make eye contact with each interviewer and speak to them directly when answering their question. 3. Be prepared to share at least two or three times as many stories as you would with a single interviewer. You are now trying to sell yourself to two or three more people, so you will need to have the appropriate amount of stories. 4. Get a good night sleep. These types of interviews can be very fatiguing.

Mealtime Interview
A mealtime interview, as the name would imply, is an interview set over the course of a meal. They are often used in situations where the position requires a high level of interpersonal skills. A mealtime setting allows them to see how you act in a social setting, as well as your mealtime etiquette. They are not only looking at how you interact with other employees, but also how polite you are to other guests and the serving staff. Here are some tips for a successful mealtime interview: 1. Make sure you order a meal that iseasy to eat so you do not have to worry about spilling or splattering food all over your clothes. 2. Watch the interviewer for cues. Do not sit until he or she does, do not order alcohol unless he or she does (even so, only have one). And order something a little less expensive. Do not begin eating until the interviewer does. 3. Do not discuss any dietary restrictions or preferences. 4. Allow the interviewer or others at the table to choose the topics of conversation. 5. Be sure to thank the interviewer for the meal.

Stress Interview
A stress interview allows interviewers to see how well you work under pressure. These types of interviews can be a little cruel, but it serves a point. These types of interviews may include a variety of odd behaviour, including being held in the waiting room for long periods of time, posing offensive questions, being met with long silence or cold looks, just to name a few. Verbal abuse is also fairly common. All of this just to see if you are able to handle a stressful work environment and company culture. Here are some pointers to help you keep your cool: 1. Stress interviews are meant to test your mental strength, not hurt your feelings. If you can identify when you are in one, it will make it that much easier to shine. 2. Stay focused on expressing your point. Do not let the interviewer shake your confidence or get in your head.


Stay calm at all costs and avoid rude responses to rude questions.

Behavioral Interview
A typical interview discusses your skills and how they fit with the job at hand. A behavioural interview is aimed at using your previous behaviour to indicate your future performance. Youve probably heard questions such as, "describe a past work experi ence where you had to use problem-solving, adaptability or leadership. "They are looking for detailed information on how you have dealt with past experiences. Prior to a behavioural interview, review your resume and generate as many stories as possible based on the information in you interview, and of course practice practice, practice. Keep them short and concise.

Follow-up Interview
If you make it through the first interview, you may very well be called back for another, or even a third. This could happen if employers are having a difficult time deciding between a few candidates, or just to ensure you are the right person for the job. If you get a second or third interview, it is your best chance to solidify your placement within the company. Often you will meet with people higher in the company, so be prepared for high levels of stress. Be as professional as possible and good luck!