Saturday, April 5, 2014

Collecting Qualitative Interviews

I recently made it through the first hurdle of the dissertation process and finished my preliminary defense.  For those of you who are completely flummoxed by this statement: I did my homework and made it through the first round of interviews I but I have not gotten the job yet.  After the passing my prelim and getting IRB approval I get to start collecting data and this is where the real research starts.

*photo of me right as I publicly discussed my preliminary research courtesy of Dirk Baron.

Next week I start interviews with geoscience students about their experiences in producing research.  This week I am going to share advice others have given to me about how to get good results during the interview process.

Tips for Interviews

Remind Respondents- My first flight of interviews is with university students starting next week.  Each respondent received an email reminder with their meeting time and location.  In additional I will text each study to remind them the previous day so they don't forget.

Remove Barriers- Non-verbal communication is about sending cues through body language.  The investigator should not sit behind a desk or have any other physical barriers between them and the respondent.  This also includes crossing your arms or having a computer in front of your face while you speak.  This communicates to the respondent that you are un-receptive or defensive about their responses. 

Water-have bottled water available for both the interviewer and respondent.  Do not want anyone to be parched while speaking. 

Notes- even though each interview will be recorded it is important to take notes.  As previously discussed you do not want a computer screen in front of your body while you ask questions.  Instead have a place to take written notes. 

Journal- instead of taking notes on a pad of paper or loose papers it is better to have a journal dedicated to observation notes together.  I already have several journal dedicated to writing both my yoga sequences and reflections.  To keep my notes straight I chose a brightly colored journal that is easy to find to help with early coding.  My favorite color is black so its is a little fun having my dissertation journal titled my "little pink book.”

Interview Transcription- while working in a previous class I had to turn over several interviews in a short span of time.  I discovered “” an Iphone/ Ipad application where you load audio recordings and the transcriptions are emailed back within three days. 

*This project will still review every interview, review with rev transcript and notes to verify content.

Back Up Interviews- iPhones or iPads are good devices for recording interviews but they do not have an unlimited supply of space.  Dropbox, the Cloud and Google Drive are examples of applications for secure back-up copies of you interviews when your phone fills up. 

Getting the Dissertation Done

I have two more semesters before my doctoral program comes to an end.  The completion of my doctorate is dependent on the completion of my dissertation.  Thankfully I have a strong support system with my partner and fellow cohort members.  

The advice, input and prayers of the amazing people in my life has gotten me this far.  Shout out to Jazmine who has been writing advice on dissertation writing in her blog.  This is a reply to Jazmine’s ongoing conversation and I hope it is helpful for other folks gathering qualitative research.