Interviews in Qualitative Research A Conversation with a Purpose

Or ‘lessons in getting people to talk about themselves’.

Dr Jyothsna Belliappa

TOPIC Key words Key Research Questions
Subsidiary Questions (Themes ) Interview Questions Subsidiary Questions (Themes ) Interview Questions

• The importance of beauty in arranged marriages and the influence off professional photographers in creating notions of a beautiful bride. • Perceptions of ideal beauty amongst beauticians and their clients • How are insecurities about appearance created and strengthened • A comparison of mothers’ and teenage daughters’ (or sons’) perceptions of ideal beauty. • What sorts of perceived value do beauty rituals have for 13 to 18 year olds? • How do women’s and men’s ideas of beauty evolve from childhood to adulthood?

The Bangladeshi Idea of Beauty Western, Asian notions of beauty; Women and Modernity; Westernization; Beauty Products; Women’s Magazines How are middle class Bangladeshi women’s ideas of beauty influenced by Western cultural stereotypes? How do women’s magazines and advertisements influence these cultural stereotypes ?

How are middle class Bangladeshi women’s ideas of beauty influenced by Western cultural stereotypes?

a) Images of ideal beauty (family; friends; celebs) b) beauty rituals and products used • personal rituals and salon rituals • Hair, skin, face, body, hands, feet, nails c) traditional vs. contemporary notions of beauty d) purchase and decision making in products e) biggest concerns regarding beauty

Grooming Routines at Home • Morning • Evening • Office…. • Pre-parties/ going out… (probe differences in products, routines) Salon • • • • • How often… Treatments done… do they vary …. Special occasion treatments… Money spent every visit… How salons are chosen….

Types of Questions
• Descriptive: who, what, when, where • Analytical: why, how • Evaluative: which one? to what extent?

• Concrete to abstract • Impersonal to personal • Use of Props, Vignettes or activities • Types of questions: open, closed, probing, leading • Questioning without asking

Samira is 17 years old. Her parents are keen for her to become a doctor. They’ve been talking of it for years and have been saving up for her medical education. Samira is academically very good and is capable of hard work – two prerequisites of a medical career. She doesn’t much care for biology but she likes the idea of working with people. She enjoys writing. Her friends and her drama teacher say that she has a talent for acting, but her parents are dead against acting as a career option. What would help Samira make a decision?

Designing Your Research Instrument:
• Level of Structure • Your role (stranger, friend, insider, outsider, host, guest?) • Subjects to be covered • How you will introduce yourself/ your project? • Others…

Examples of Questions
• Closed: Would you like a college canteen? • Open: What do you think of the idea of having a college canteen? • Probing: How often would you use the college canteen for lunch and afternoon tea? – What sorts of food and beverages would you expect to see in the canteen? • Leading: You really want a college canteen don’t you?

Probing Questions • Clarification • Reflecting/ showing understanding • Justification for decisions and opinions • Giving an example • Extending the story
– You mentioned…. – Would tell me a bit more about ….

Active Listening Skills
• Silence • Non-verbal behaviour; vocal cues- pauses, uh-huh, • Indicating understanding; clarification • Prompting and probing – gently • Summarizing and reflecting

The Interview
• Introduction
– Openness – Comfort – Privacy

• Substantive Content
– Logic and Sequence – Spontaneity – Sensing emotions- tiredness; hesitation; need for privacy

• Closure
– Cognitive – summarizing; allowing for additional information, suggestions – Social – sharing results of research; allowing for additional questions

INTERVIEW KILLERS • Lack of respect for the process • Lack of consideration for the research participant • Forced participation

Seeking Interviewees: Major Questions • How many? • How do I find people? • How will I introduce myself/ my project • What if people refuse? • What’s my identity/relationship/position vs. my interviewee?

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