Research: Qualitative Research and Interview Essay

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The Qualitative Report Volume 15 Number 3 May 2010 754-760 http://www.nova.edu/ssss/QR/QR15-3/qid.pdf

Qualitative Interview Design: A Practical Guide for Novice Investigators
Daniel W. Turner, III
Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale, Florida USA Qualitative research design can be complicated depending upon the level of experience a researcher may have with a particular type of methodology. As researchers, many aspire to grow and expand their knowledge and experiences with qualitative design in order to better utilize diversified research paradigms for future investigations. One of the more popular areas of interest in qualitative research design is that of the interview protocol. Interviews provide in-depth information pertaining to participants’ experiences and viewpoints of a particular topic. Often times, interviews are coupled with other forms of data collection in order to provide the researcher with a well-rounded collection of information for analyses. This paper explores the effective ways to conduct in-depth, qualitative interviews for novice investigators by employing a step-by-step process for implementation. Key Words: Informal Conversational Interview, General Interview Guide, and Open-Ended Interviews Qualitative research design can be complicated depending upon the level of experience a researcher may have with a particular type of methodology. As researchers, many aspire to grow and expand their knowledge and experiences with qualitative design in order to better utilize a variety of research paradigms. One of the more popular areas of interest in qualitative research design is that of the interview protocol. Interviews provide in-depth information pertaining to participants’ experiences and viewpoints of a particular topic. Often times, interviews are coupled with other forms of data collection in order to provide the researcher with a well-rounded collection of information for analyses. This paper explores the effective ways to conduct in-depth, qualitative interviews for novice investigators by expanding upon the practical components of each interview design. Categories of Qualitative Interview Design As common with quantitative analyses, there are various forms of interview design that can be developed to obtain thick, rich data utilizing a qualitative investigational perspective (Creswell, 2007). For the purpose of this examination, there are three formats for interview design that will be explored which are summarized by Gall, Gall, and Borg (2003): (a) informal conversational interview, (b) general interview guide approach, and (c) standardized open-ended interview. In addition, I will expand on some suggestions for conducting qualitative interviews which includes the construction of research questions as well as the analysis of interview data. These suggestions come from both my personal experiences with interviewing as well as the recommendations from the literature to assist novice interviewers.

Daniel W. Turner, III

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Informal Conversational Interview The informal conversational interview is outlined by Gall, Gall, and Borg (2003) for the purpose of relying “…entirely on the spontaneous generation of questions in a natural interaction, typically one that occurs as part of ongoing participant observation fieldwork” (p. 239). I am curious when it comes to other cultures or religions and I enjoy immersing myself in these environments as an active participant. I ask questions in order to learn more about these social settings without having a predetermined set of structured questions. Primarily the questions come from “in the moment experiences” as a means for further understanding or clarification of what I am witnessing or experiencing at a particular moment. With the informal conversational approach, the researcher does not ask any specific types of questions, but rather relies on the interaction with the participants to guide the interview process (McNamara, 2008). Think…