This course aims to introduce doctoral students to the most widely used qualitative research technique – the interview. The course begins by outlining the sorts of research question that are best addressed through qualitative interviews, touching on debates about the nature of qualitative data. We then consider the practical considerations when undertaking a qualitative interview project – from selecting participants through to choosing a location in which to conduct the interview and the sorts of things you ought to take with you into the field. There will be a practical exercise on designing a qualitative interview guide, with a session devoted to how to avoid and recognise poorly worded interview questions. Attention will be focused on the key skills that qualitative interviewers need to collect good quality data (including body language, asking open questions, probing, prompting and active listening) and we will discuss the importance of critical reflexivity throughout the research process. Participants will also be introduced to thematic analysis and shown how to undertake a basic analysis using the CAQDAS package, MAXQDA.
The course is primarily aimed at two groups of doctoral students; those who are at the beginning of their qualitative research projects and want to deepen their knowledge of the qualitative interview; and those who have never used qualitative methods and want an introduction to one of main data collection tools used within this approach.
About the lecturer
Dr Katy Wheeler is a Lecturer in Sociology at The University of Essex. She has extensive experience of conducting qualitative interviews with a range of different participants from industry experts through to household interviews. Her research interests are in the fields of sustainability and ethical consumption. She is also an instructor at the Essex Summer School in Social Science Data Analysis, where she co-runs a course on qualitative interviewing.
Please note that other external participants than the one mentioned in the target group above are asked to pay a small course fee. For inquiries please contact the GIGA DP Student Assistant.