The study that I am currently involved in is dedicated to the exploration of students’ perceptions towards the quality of online education. I employed a qualitative research methodology to gain understanding of how students perceive the quality of online courses from their own experiences. To collect the data for my study, I elaborated questions for semi-structured interview. In this post I would like to share my experience of conducting an interview for my study.
The first significant step in conducting the interview is compiling the appropriate questions that would help collect the information relevant to the research. For my research I designed ten open-ended questions that I thought were suitable to the study. To eliminate any ambiguous questions and ensure logical sequence of them, I tested the questions on one of my friends. After mock interview, I made a conclusion that some of the questions were too general and narrow, and required some specific knowledge from the participant, therefore, it was decided to change some of the questions and make the sequence of questions more coherent.
Next step that I had to do was to schedule an interview time with a potential participant. I asked two of my NUGSE groupmates to participate in the study, explained the purpose of it and informed about confidentiality and anonymity that I guarantee during this study. However, the most challenging thing was actually to find the best time to meet and conduct interview. Both participants were busy during the day and we had to schedule the interview after the studies.
Conducting an interview is a new experience for me. It was the first time that I did it for research purposes. I did not know that many details should be taken into consideration when planning an interview. Now I know that I have to find a room where no noise would distract from the process. Secondly, it is better to record the interview as taking notes is not convenient for the interviewer. If you are recoding somebody’s answer, a recording device should have a good quality. In my case I used a mobile phone, however, the recorded sound was not very loud. Besides, it is obvious that the participants do not always feel comfortable being recorded. So, this also might be a challenge during the interview.
I think that I will now thoroughly plan for the interview for my thesis. I already decided to buy a special dictaphone for this purpose. This mini-research also gave me a clear idea of how important it is to create good questions for the interview.
In conclusion, I would like to state that semi-structured interview is very convenient instrument when you want to know personal experiences and perspectives of people. It is also advantageous because during the interview you can ask specific questions that would help you better understand the study.
Picture is taken from http://blog.fests.info/first-interview-nikhil-raj.html/