Assignment 2: Interviews

You may use existing data for this assignment, but note that you will need to follow some of the ideas covered in the readings by Kvale & Brinkmann as well as by Holstein & Gubrium. If your existing data does not allow for you to provide the details required, you will need to do a new interview.


How to approach this assignment
1. Context. Find a setting that you are interested in learning more about. You will need to involve interviews with people who experience the same context. A context is not "English language teachers" -this is a population. Observe this context at least one time before moving on with interviews. Follow the steps in the Fieldnotes assignmetn for the observation element.
2. Interviewees. If you can ascertain that there are different populations that experience the same context (e.g., a classroom), then it will be important to interview representatives from each population (e.g., teacher, student). Interview at least 2 people.
3. Time and transcription. Limit your interviews to 1 hour maximum. You do not need to transcribe your interviews for this assignment, but you will need to pull out a few examples of the techniques you used. You are welcome to use short excerpts in your write-up. Instead, you will record them and then listen to them, taking notes as you go. These notes will be the 'meta-level' field notes, similar to the observation option above.

Guidelines for interviewing
1. Record your interviews AND take notes as you go. Use a reliable recorder and PRACTICE using it. Bring extra batteries. Find a quiet space for the interview.
2. Tell your own story or provide a detailed description of your own stake in the research area as a starting point. This will help you to create a comfortable relationship with your interviewee, and it is part of the 'active interview' concept as well. It is also part of informing the interviewee about the purpose of the research, and hence, relates to the concept of 'informed consent.'
3. Practice the art of 'follow-up questions' (Kvale & Brinkmann, p. 138)
4. Don't restrict yourself to your prepared questions. One of the best strategies to use is to probe an idea produced by your interviewee in the preceding turn. Make sure to use structuring questions as well in order to achieve your goals in the interview.

Writing it up
For the due date, include the following as one attachment:
1. List of research questions and the corresponding interview questions (Kvale & Brinkmann, p. 132).
2. 2-3 page (double-spaced) narrative on the experience. This should be a narrative, but it should include the following components:

At the end of the narrative, very briefly (one paragraph) mention any 'findings' that you believe you have found. What did your interview yield? How did these relate to any observations you had made about the context? What might be the next step in a research project that would carry on with the particular context that you studied? What analytical methods (see Week 8) might you turn to next in order to probe the context further?