Week 11 – Research Interviewing

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Weerakkody in their writing, “Research Interviewing” highlights the importance of developing an appropriate interviewing technique during the qualitative research process. The author makes some important observations about the holistic approach to research interviewing from the styles of interviewing, how to approach and treat an interviewee, the advantages, disadvantages and types of research interviews, and the application of these interviews. This reading contains numerous concepts applicable to the first part of Assignment 3 for the Art 1090 course.

The author notes the use of semi-structured interview which allows open ended questions, providing a “mixture of both the respondent’s and the researcher’s points of view” (Weerakkody 2009, p. 167). Similarly, this level of flexibility is further enhanced through unstructured interviews which allow unique characteristics and circumstances to be considered through open ended discussion with the respondent. I believe this form of interviewing technique will be applicable when interviewing my subject for the third assignment. This will allow me to grasp an understanding of the subject’s views regarding their media usage as well as enable me to direct the interview through certain open ended questions. Similarly, I will be able to use a mix of descriptive, structural and contrast questions. For example: an ‘experience question’ might be, “can you give me an example of how you believe you used your iPhone to improve your mobility?” Alternatively I may ask a ‘contrast question’ such as “What is the difference between using an iPhone as oppose to a regular mobile telephone and how has this impacted on your life?” “What was it like before the iPhone?”

I believe an important point raised by the author is the importance of developing a rapport with the interviewee and ensuring they are treated “fairly, with respect and politely” (Weerakkody 2009, p. 174).

When collecting and analysing the data, particularly for Assignment 3, it is important to note the disadvantages, or limitations associated with research interviews and Weerakkody notes.

In explaining the types and genres of qualitative research interviews, the author notes ethnographic conversation, depth interviews, group interviews, narrative interviews and postmodern interviews. Of most relevance to assignment 3 I believe is depth interviews as Weerakkody notes, these types of interviews “are often used in media and communication research.” (Weerakkody 2009, p. 178).

Liamputtong in the reading, ‘Writing a Qualitative Research Report’ unlike Weerakkody focuses on the actual construction of a research paper to report on your qualitative research. This is very much applicable to the second part of Assignment 3 for this course. I believe the core argument of this writing is that qualitative research is about being able to produce and report on results such that they can be read and inform others of the results in a “convincing argument” (Liamputtong 2009, p.317) of a particular research project.

An important point I gauged from the reading was that of structure and the need to ensure “careful attention to structure and meaning” (Liamputtong 2009, p. 318). This is due to the fact that qualitative writing will often include discussion throughout the entire paper which, if not structured properly, can often lead to confusion for a reader and the potential to sway from the specific point or topic area.

When considering the structure of a qualitative research report, the author notes the importance of giving consideration to the audience. In this instance, Assignment 3 is written for submission to the Arts Faculty and as such will require a basic academic approach. Communicating your research effectively to your target audience can be done through selecting an appropriate writing format such as a report, article or book. In the instance of Assignment 3, the research will be presented in a report format, however in all three instances, the author has noted the importance of developing and maintaining a clear structure, with key components, sequence and content with flows smoothly, with linkages to previous paragraphs and chapters.

Both authors have clearly identified mechanisms to ensure that qualitative research and qualitative research reporting writing is capable of producing the most effective results. Some main concepts I have taken from these readings, which can be applied to Assignment 3 of this course include that of:

  • Appropriate interview technique, questions and approach to the interviewee;
  • Maintaining structure and linkages in the report writing process and using graphics to support discussion; and
  • Producing innovation and well connected research reports through appropriate selection of report format, effective analysis of research findings and communication of the key issues.
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