My experience of conducting an interview

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/

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6 thoughts on “My experience of conducting an interview

  1. Dear Miramgul,
    thank you for this wonderful post!

    I absolutely agree with you that the key of interview is preparing appropriate question. I like the idea that you first conducted a mock interview. To be honest, I myself did not do so. From your experience I learnt that a mock interview can be a great help during my Master’s thesis.
    Secondly, I do understand that finding a right time and place might be difficult since we are all busy during this session. However, I am very thankful for my peers who contributed to my mini research.
    Regarding the issue that participants may feel uncomfortable while being recorded, I would suggest you to clearly explain to your participants the anonymity and confedentiality of the interview and their rights to withdraw any moment or not to ask any question.
    Wish you good luck with analyzing your data which is also a not easy thing to do.

    Like

  2. Dear Miramgul, this a great way you compose the questions for the interview, I would like to ask, what mock interview is? It is the problem, I also faced that the questions are too narrow or too general. I suggest that you apply semi-structured interviews as a solution!

    Like

    1. Thank you for your comment. Before I start interview, I tried the questions on my friend to see whether all questions are clear. That is what I call mock interview. It is kind of proofreading of the questions.

      Like

  3. Excellent post, Miramgul. You give a clear overview of the thought process involved in preparing for and conducting an interview. If you read the other posts that are already online, you will start to see a trend: interviewing takes a lot of preparation, it takes longer than expected, and the simple act of recording the interview can interfere with the participants’ willingness to speak frankly and openly.

    Thanks so much for sharing, and I’m glad to hear that you have some ideas of how to improve your data collection for your full thesis.

    No grammar/writing errors. Great organization.

    5/5

    Liked by 1 person

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