Interview as data generation method in research: Pointers to resources

Work in progress

In this page I try to collect some resources related to interview as a research tool. The resources listed here are mainly about semi-structured and unstructured interviews used in qualitative research in technology-related areas. If you have any suggestions to other resources I would be happy to hear from you!

  • For a first introduction to interview as a research tool you should read Chapter 13 in the excellent “Researching Information Systems and Computing“. This chapter gives an introduction to types of interviews, researcher’s role in interviews, and basic interview techniques for preparing and conducting interviews. It gives some hints on the types of questions to ask, how to collect data, and other practical things.
  • An excellent article on conducting interviews as part of an interpretative qualitative study is “The qualitative interview in IS research: Examining the craft“. This is a widely cited article that discusses some of the shortcomings of interview as a data collection tool. It then provides a set of guidelines for conducting interviews, using drama as a metaphor.
  • You can use interviews to collect requirements for technology, but also to conduct an evaluation of a particular technology’s usage among users. See some good advise on interviewing users with respect to technology from Interaction-design.org. If you want a more comprehensive reference on using interviews as part of the design process I can recommend Steve Portigal’s book “Interviewing users“.
  • Good advise on focus group sessions, from Interaction-design.org. Focus groups method is a group interview method that is used extensively in collecting requirements for and evaluating technological products.
  • A comprehensive guide to interviews, both theoretical and practical, is “Reflective Interviewing: A Guide to Theory and Practice“.
  • Illustrated good and bad ways of doing interview: See the videos here (demonstrating bad interview techniques) and here (same interview done correctly). Another set of demonstrations can be found here. These videos illustrate some of the most common mistakes one should avoid in an interview session.
  • Not strictly about interviews but about conversations in general, TED talk by Celeste Headlee.

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