Planning your qualitative interview or focus group

We have just launched a new half day workshop on interviewing skills. The reason we have designed this course is because of the quality of some of the transcripts coming to our NVivo formatted  transcription service. Poor ability to conduct a qualitative interview to the requisite standard can pose a real threat to the integrity of your data. We regularly see transcripts where people demonstrate poor planning of their topic guide and/or poor delivery in the field. Classic errors include :

• Narrow questions or prompts often putting words into the mouths of the research participants

• Asking several questions at once

• Interrupting participants

• Talking over participants

• Filling up spaces (not allowing the participant to reflect or think before answering)

• Offering opinions or even arguing with participants

• Being inconsistent with prompts/questions/narratives eliminating the exploration of shared experiences

• Malfunctioning equipment or user error in managing the equipment

• Little or no field notes or observations for context

These are just some of the more obvious and frequently observed difficulties mostly pertaining to semi-structured interviews but we also encounter problems with narratives and particularly focus groups. The course is delivered by a very experienced research, Dr. Toni Owens and you can download a course outline here  

Interviewing skills is an entirely new skill set for many researchers and the practical elements of this critical facet of qualitative data collection may not be given enough emphasis during standard research methodological workshops in your third level institution.  If this is the case, and you would like to bring this half day course to your location, we would be delighted to quote you a competitive rate. Please note that all our workshops come with post training telephone, e-mail and on-line direct access support for the life of each participant’s first project. 

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