“When we are listened to, it creates us, makes us unfold and expand.” Brenda Ueland
In depth interviewing is a versatile method for collecting rich information in a one-on-one format. Interviews can be conducted by phone, Skype, or in person. Generally, it only takes a small number of interviews with “information rich” individuals to gain an in-depth perspective about a particular situation, idea, or program.
The major advantage of the interview is the opportunity it affords to make meaning of a person’s responses. Not only does the open-ended interview elicit direct responses, but the process evokes explanations, reactions, feelings, insights and more. Semi-structured questions allow for those things you may have never thought to ask.
Before conducting interviews, I work with you to design the interview guide and develop criteria for selecting interviewees. I conduct the interviews, analyze transcripts for major themes, and present with a summary and recommendations.
Generally, interviews are conducted between one interviewer and one interviewee. But Dr. David Morgan of Portland State University has designed a two-person interview format between two participants and one interviewer. Teh two-person interview is recommended when interviewees are highly interested in the topic and willing to talk about it with someone else who is equally interested. The interviewer plays a minor role and only jumps in when the conversation veers too far off track.
Several two-person interviews can be a good alternative to one or two large focus groups. It means having to get two people to the same place at teh same time, versus five or ten. At the same time, the two-person interview allows for the rich sharing that makes focus groups so advantageous.
The two person interview can be very effective with professionals in similar roles such as physicians, executives, teachers, or others with an interest in sharing experiences with a professional peer. Individuals who have had a similar lived experience (e. g. Alzheimers caretakers, graduate students, mothers of small children) are also good candidates for two-person interviews.
Round Robin Interviews
The round-robin principle, in which each person takes an equal share of something in turn, can be an effective strategy for interviewing several individuals in one setting. In this interviewing process, everyone interviews each other. The Round Robin provides an opportunity for participants to offer, collect, analyze, and interpret perception data within a relatively short period of time.
The Round Robin set up people in groups with people facing each other in chairs. Each person asks the person across from them the question on their sheet and records notes of those responses and then moves on to teh next chair. Each person has about 5 minutes to ask and record their partner’s response. This rotation continues until every person has answered every question and also recorded notes from 4 respondents.
After interviews are complete, all the people who collected notes for the same question will group together to ‘debrief’ by summarizing/categorizing the combined responses and developing the theme for each category.