Weiss the Qualitative Interview Appendices

Weiss, R. S. (1994). Learning from strangers: The art and method of qualitative interview studies. New York: The Free Press.

Appendix A: Other Names for Qualitative Interviewing

  • Synonyms include intensive interviewing, in-depth interviewing, depth interviewing, nondirective research interview, clinical research interview, and a focused interview.
  • Qualitative interviewing is always constrained by the goals of a study; it is never free to veer off into any area at all. And the structure of qualitative interviewing is unlike that of an ordinary conversation; for one thing, one participant takes responsibility for providing direction, the other for providing content (p. 207)."
  • The author argues that none of these other terms are truly synonyms. Qualitative is not exactly nondirective because, although the interviewer's role is to listen, s/he is required to do more than simply listen; the researcher has a responsibility to obtain information. 
  • Qualitative interviewing is not exactly a clinical research interview. That term alludes to qualitative interviewing as a therapeutic act when in fact it is not.
  • Qualitative interviewing is not example a focused interview. "It treats respondents as subjects whose response to the event is the material to be understood, rather than as reporters from whom we will learn about the event itself (p. 208)."

Appendix C: Sources of Bias and Their Control

  • Sampling
  • Interviewing
  • Interpretation and Reporting
  • Intellectual Honesty

    • "People who do research should have only one concern in their work, and that is to capture, with scrupulous honesty, the way things are (p. 213)."