Element Descriptor

Being able to formulate appropriate questions, listen for “the gaps” and adjust accordingly is useful because it draws the best answers out of interviewees (academics, activists, whoever) and makes the whole process worthwhile. Bad interviewing means no return visits.

Level descriptors

You can, with time, come up with a reasonable set of questions and conduct an interview, occasionally deviating to pick up on something interesting/unexpected that someone saidYou can quickly cobble together a good set of questions and use them as the basis of an in depth interview with someone who is friendly/forthcoming or neutral.You can come up with excellent (revealing, tricky) questions at the drop of a hat and deal with the standard bluster/denial techniques that get used by unfriendly interviewees. You can “make it up as you go along”Johnson and Cummings would choose to be interviewed by Emily Mathis instead of you. You are able to ask tricky questions with a smile, getting interviewees to give you the rope to hang them with. Time, venue, topic, no problem. You da bomb.

Element Overview Essay

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The reason this has done badly is that people assume an interview is just a chat. An interview is not a chat. There is a proper schedule. There are a bunch of things that you are trying to find out. And you’re trying to do it in ways that are not leading questions or misleading questions.

The consequences of doing interviews badly. You don’t get the best out of the people that you’re interviewing. You miss some of their insights. They don’t enjoy the experience. They’re less likely to agree to a follow up interview. And other people reading the interview think well, if I were approached to do an interview, I would say no, because this is clearly a waste of time, though of course there are always narcissists for whom any attention even if it’s they find it boring is good attention. But you don’t want to rely on that because he attracts narcissists.

So the fixes are to have a basic interview schedule with always a relatively soft Who are you? How did you come to be doing this? Tell us about your new book report, essay whatever question, leading into more detailed questions. And then the last question can always be anything else you’d like to say anything that we didn’t ask you. We’re afraid we would be disappointed that we didn’t answer that question. And often, your most illuminating answers come in the “anything else you’d like to say?” bit at the end.

 During the interview itself. You have to be listening very carefully for what people say and don’t say, be able to go down these – not rabbit holes, but =- diversions and also come back to the main thread. Now, it may be that your time is limited. And obviously, you want to make sure at the outset how long people have got for an interview. You also have to be looking at, well, what are you going to do with the material? Is this going to be a transcript that goes up on a website? Is this going to feed into research? Is it off the record? Is it on the record, etc, etc. Interviews can be freaking wonderful. And energising if you do them right but often they’re done badly.

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