Interviewing as a Methodology the 'Methodology' chapter

  • Length: 20 pages
  • Sources: 15
  • Subject: Communication
  • Type: 'Methodology' chapter
  • Paper: #5608936

Excerpt from 'Methodology' chapter :

He began to speak less formally, weaving his previously formulated questions into something that resembled a conversation. This led his interviewees to speak more candidly and with more self-reflection, moving beyond their celebrity images. Chirban's interactive interviewing required more empathy and listening skills on his part, but the trust that it established enabled him to enter the interviewee's world. The new relationship also allowed interviewees to reflect on their past with new understanding as the dialogue unfolded (Ritchie, 1997).

Interviewing is a complex and demanding task. It is a direct conversation the purpose of which is to gather information b; administering a set of questions. The interview is a key data collection tool for conducting surveys. Reviewed literature describes the ways in which survey data can be gathered; questionnaire design and interview techniques, and analyses in detail the fundamental characteristics of the interview a structured method of obtaining information in a target population, evaluating its relative advantages and disadvantages. Discussion has taken place too regarding the importance of preparation and administration of survey interviews via telephone and in person. There are steps that should be taken to prepare interview question; it is important to write questions that will be effective. In the case of interviewing there is a process of how to write pre-letters and scripts for a pre-call as well as organize a flowing interview script that considers possible question order effects ( n.d. Interview).

Charlton (1985) defined oral history as "the recording and preserving of planned interviews with selected persons able to narrate recollected memory and thereby aid the reconstruction of the past" (p.2). The value of oral history for educational researchers and practitioners is found in the background that can be provided by credible participants who are able to enrich understandings of the immediate problem-solving context or who can draw parallels with other contexts. Sometimes dramatic events or significant phenomena require giving voice to otherwise silent observers or constituencies that know the true nature of the problem of interest, but who have never been consulted by historians or decision makers. For example, ethnographic shifts in recent years have created major cultural divides in communities and schools that challenge long held assumptions of teachers and administrators regarding their client student populations.

Technological developments have made interviewing more feasible and more reliable ( n.d. Interview). The writing went even further to discuss that the integration of the computer into data gathering has improved the level of data quality for both telephone and in-person interviewing. Computer-assisted interviewing makes it possible for the interview to be completed with fewer problems of interviewer error. The well-organized monograph by SARIS aims to aid researchers to improve their data's quality and to help the reader identify the possibilities and difficulties that arise in computer-assisted interviewing. Examples of actual research questionnaires are given so that the reader can compare the usual paper questionnaire against the extra statements needed for clear computer-assisted interviewing

Interviewing is an essential tool in qualitative research: through qualitative interviews one can understand experiences and reconstruct events. Qualitative interviewing requires intense listening, a respect for and curiosity about what people say, and a systematic effort to really hear and understand what people tell. Qualitative interviewing encompasses a variety of ways of questioning: interviews differ in style and in the relative emphasis on understanding culture as the main object of study. The scope of the research arena also varies from one type of interview to another ( n.d. Interview).

Kristsonis provided an example which stated a formerly rural/now suburban high school campus that in 1995-2004 comparison revealed the following demographic changes in students and teachers. In 1995 only 17% of the students of this inner city campus were Hispanic, 15% were African-American, and 65% of students were Anglo. The teacher demographic representations were similar. Ten years later 67% of the students were Hispanic, 17% were African-American, but only 16 of the students were Anglo. The teacher demographics remained relatively unchanged over the same 10 years.

Conversations with parents, teachers, and administrators reveals that the unexpected demographic gaps that occurred during the preceding ten-year period had resulted in an increase of racial tensions wherein teachers/student and teacher/parent conflicts occurring. The achievement of Hispanic students continued a downward spiral, attendance and dropouts were increasing, and disciplinary alternative educational placements were soaring. These realities placed the district in jeopardy of losing its standing based on statewide criteria and NCLB standards. This was a phenomenon that could be documented through oral history interviews and the results made available as a case for other districts. In this case a number of interventions might be possible in the short run but a comprehensive and effectively planned longer term plan informed by carefully conducted oral histories would provide some valuable context and community history of the community that can provide answers to working with all parties affected by the problem. (Kristsonis, 2008, para. 8)

Although it is well accepted that memories are not exact replicas of prior experiences but instead are reconstructions (Loftus, 1979), the nature of these reconstructions and the effects of developmental and contextual influences on them remain debated. One noteworthy debate has focused on the effects of repeated interviews on children's memory and suggestibility. In particular, concerns have been raised that the more often a child is interviewed, the more often misinformation might be presented -- intentionally or inadvertently -- leading to increased inaccuracy over time. Moreover, repeated demands for a child to retrieve information from memory may increase confabulations due to social pressure. Despite these concerns, studies of children's memory for experienced events generally suggest that repeated interviews can improve performance by facilitating recall and reducing forgetting (e.g., Howe, Courage, & Bryant-Brown, 1993; Peterson, 1999). Yet, in a second line of research, specifically when children are suggestively questioned about false events, adverse effects of repeated interviews appear to emerge (e.g., Bruck, Ceci, & Hembrooke, 2002; Leichtman & Ceci, 1995).

A simple explanation for the different patterns of results is that repeated interviews benefit memory when the to-be-remembered event is true and distort memory when the to-be-remembered event is false. However, a number of other factors likely contribute to the evident reduction in accuracy when children are repeatedly interviewed about fictitious events, making the simple explanation premature. For instance, studies concerning children's false event reports following repeated interviews often began with an interviewer explicitly stating that the false events occurred (e.g., Ceci, Huffman, Smith, & Loftus, 1994). The interviewers' biased statement, in addition to or instead of the interview repetition, may well have affected children's accuracy. In addition, children's false reports following repeated interviews were often compared with their reports in earlier interviews (e.g., Bruck et al., 2002). Yet, in order to draw conclusions about the effects of repeated interviews per se, one needs to compare performance of children exposed to repeated interviews with the performance of children exposed to a single interview matched in delay to that of children exposed to repeated interviews.

The purpose of this study was to disentangle the effects of repeated interviews and interviewer bias and, in doing so, to determine more precisely how repeated interviews affect children's memory and false reports. Also of interest was whether the effects of repeated interviews vary across development. Two age groups were thus included: 3- and 5-year-olds, targeted for theoretical and practical reasons. Theoretically, compared with older preschoolers, younger preschoolers forget more quickly, have more limited ability to monitor the sources of their memories, are more trusting of adults' statements -- even when adults have a history of providing inaccurate information, and are more susceptible generally to suggestive interview tactics .Practically, concerns in legal contexts about the malleability of memory are often greatest when preschoolers, as opposed to older children or adults, allege to have experienced or witnessed a crime (Quas, Thompson, & Clarke-Stewart, 2005), and repeated interviews are commonplace in forensic contexts. Knowledge concerning younger and older preschoolers' performance following exposure to repeated interviews and biased interviewers can provide insight into developmental changes in the influence of contextual characteristics on children's eyewitness capabilities.

Hermeneutical Design and the Long Interview as Qualitative Research

Hermeneutics is a field of study devoted to the problem of how to give meaning to a cultural product such as a work of art or a piece of writing. The concept was originally applied to interpretations of the Bible, especially given its history of repeatedly being revised, rewritten, copied, and translated. Currently, however, the concept is applicable to any element of culture. From a hermeneutic perspective; we cannot tell what something means simply from the thing itself. We can also look at the context in which it was produced and in which we are now trying to make sense of it. Figuring out what a document such as the Magna Carta or the U.S. Constitution means, for example, depends entirely on the subjective decision of what kind of interpretive framework to use. Do we try to imagine, for example, what those who wrote the Constitution had in mind at…

Cite This 'Methodology' chapter:

"Interviewing As A Methodology The" (2010, October 01) Retrieved January 19, 2017, from

"Interviewing As A Methodology The" 01 October 2010. Web.19 January. 2017. <>

"Interviewing As A Methodology The", 01 October 2010, Accessed.19 January. 2017,