Weiss The Process of Interviewing
Weiss, R. S. (1994). Learning from strangers: The art and method of qualitative interview studies. New York: The Free Press.
Chapter 4: Interviewing
- Always take two copies of the consent form - one to be signed and returned and the other for the respondent to keep.
- Establish a collaborative relationship first.
- The Interviewing Relationship
Some Interviewing Guidelines
- "Being a good interviewer requires knowing what kind of information the study needs and being able to help the respondent provide it (p. 66)."
- Concrete descriptions are imperative for quality data.
- Asking respondents to particularize helps create concrete examples.
Tense and Specificity in the Interview
- Respondent's use of present tense often indicates generalized statements. The use of "would, could, or used to" can also indicate generalized statements as well. These are called generalized tenses.
- "The point of qualitative interviewing is to obtain from respondents a field report on their external and internal experiences. This does require the respondent to provide a density of detail that would not be provided in ordinary conversation (p. 73)."
- Generalized tenses are a façade. They feel less intrusive, but they do not result in concrete examples.
- Questions to Ask
- On Phrasing the Question
- Helping Respondents Develop Information
- Types of questions to ask:
- Filling in detail
- Identifying actors
- Others the respondent consulted
- Inner events
- "Inner events include perceptions, what the respondent heard or saw; cognitions, what the respondent thought, believed, or decided; and emotions, how the respondent felt and what strivings and impulses the respondent experienced. They can also include the respondent's preconceptions, values, goals, hopes, and fears (p. 75)."
- Making indications explicit
- Handling Difficult Questions
- "I define a marker as a passing reference made by a respondent to an important event or feeling state (p. 77)."
- Managing the Interview
- "The first rule of interviewing is that if the respondent has something to say, the respondent must be able to say it (p. 78)."
- Talking About Yourself
- Never talk about yourself.
- Monitoring the Information the Respondent is Providing
- Adequacy of the Respondent's Account
- The respondent's account should contain enough information that you can visualize exactly what happened. This concept is called visualizability.
- Managing Transitions
- Flustering a respondent can jeopardize the quality of the responses. It leads to a survey-like response rather than a true qualitative interview. Following the respondent's associations as long as they are in the frame of the study helps to avoid flustering. Use statements that warn the respondent that a redirection is coming.
- How Well is the Interviewing Partnership Going?
Examples of Interviewing
- Examples of Good Interviewing
- Examples of Poor Interviewing