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Instructor-led course

Provided by: Social Sciences Research Methods Centre

This course has 1 scheduled run. To book a place, please choose your preferred date:

Tue 23 Jan 2018

Events available

Doing Qualitative Interviews


Face-to-face interviews are used to collect a wide range of information in the social sciences. They are appropriate for the gathering of information on individual and institutional patterns of behaviour; complex histories or processes; identities and cultural meanings; routines that are not written down; and life-history events. Face-to-face interviews thus comprise an appropriate method to generate information on individual behaviour, the reasons for certain patterns of acting and talking, and the type of connection people have with each other.

The first session provides an overview of interviewing as a social research method, then focuses on the processes of organising and conducting qualitative interviews. The second session explores the ethics and practical constraints of interviews as a research method, particularly relevant when attempting to engage with marginalised or stigmatised communities. The third session focuses on organisation and analysis after interviews, including interpretation through coding and close reading. This session involves practical examples from qualitative analysis software. The final session provides an opportunity for a hands-on session, to which students should bring their interview material (at whatever stage of the process: whether writing interview questions, coding or analysing data) in order to receive advice and support in taking the interview material/data to the next stage of the research process.

Target audience

This module is designed for MPhil and PhD students as part of the Social Science Research Methods Centre (SSRMC) training programme - a shared platform for providing research students with a broad range of quantitative and qualitative research methods skills that are relevant across the social sciences.

Topics covered
  • Session 1: Conducting qualitative interviews
  • Session 2: Ethics and practical constraints
  • Session 3: Interpretation and analysis
  • Session 4: Practical: developing your own material

To provide an overview of interviewing and introduction to the module structure, concentrating on processes - organising information, interpretations through coding; gathering data from planning through transcription to analysis. Focussing on issues of ethics, positionality and logistics


Presentations only

  • Blaikie, N. 2000 Designing Social Research. Cambridge: Polity Press
  • Bryman, A. 2004. Social Science Research Methods. 2nd edition. Oxford UP.
  • Cloke P., Cook I. et al. 2004 Practising Human Geography. Sage, London.
  • Davies, C.L. 1999 Reflexive ethnography. Routledge, London.
  • Dey, I. 1993 Qualitative data analysis: a user-friendly guide for social scientists. Routledge.
  • Ely, M. 1991 Doing qualitative research: circles within circles. Taylor & Francis.
  • Flick, U. 2002 An introduction to qualitative research. 2nd edition. Sage.
  • Foddy, W. 1994 Constructing Questions for Interviews and Questionnaires: Theory and Practice in Social Research New ed. Cambridge: CUP
  • Flowerdew, R. & Martin, D. (eds) 1997 Methods in human geography. Longman, London.
  • Gilbert, N. (ed.) 2001 Researching social life. Sage, London.
  • Gillham, W. E. C. 2000 The research interview. Continuum.
  • Gubriam, J.F. & Holstein, J.A. (eds) 2002 Handbook of interview research: context & methods. Sage.
  • Guillemin, M. & Gillam, L. (2004) “Ethics, Reflexivity and ‘Ethically Important Moments’ in Research” in Qualitative Inquiry. Vol. 10, No.2 pp. 261-280
  • Hammersley, M. & Atkinson, P. 1983 Ethnography: principles in practice. Routledge.
  • Hay, I. (ed.) 2000 Qualitative research methods in human geography. Oxford University Press.
  • Hoggart, K. et al. 2002 Researching human geography. Arnold, London.
  • Hollway, W. & Jefferson, T. 2000. Doing qualitative research differently: free association, narrative and the interview method. SAGE.
  • Holstein, J. A. & Gubrium, J. F. (1995) The Active Interview. London: Sage
  • Kitchen, R. & Tate, N.J 2000 Conducting research into Human Geography: theory, methodology, and practice. Prentice Hall, London.
  • Limb, M. & Dwyer, C. (eds.) 2001 Qualitative methodologies for geographers. Arnold.
  • Lincoln, Y.S. (eds.) Handbook of Qualitative Research, pp. 83–97. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage
  • May, T. 1993 Social research: issues, methods and process. Open University Press.
  • Mullings, B. 1999 Insider or outsider, both or neither: some dilemmas of interviewing in a cross-cultural setting. Geoforum 337-50.
  • Punch, K.F. 2005 Introduction to social science research: quantitative and qualitative approaches. Sage, London.
  • Sayer, A. 1992 [1984] Method in social science: a realist approach. 2nd edition. Routledge.
  • Sidaway, J. 1992 In other worlds: on the politics of research by ‘First world’ geographers in the 'Third World Area 24: 403-8.
  • Silverman, D. (ed) 1997 Qualitative research: theory, method and practice. Sage.
  • Spradley, J.P. 1979 The ethnographic interview. London: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.
  • Valentine, G. 1997 ‘Tell me about….: using interviews as a research methodology’, IN Flowerdew & Martin (eds) Methods in human geography. Longman.
  • Taylor, S. (ed) 2001 Ethnographic Research. Sage, London.
  • Spradley, J.P. 1980 Participant observation. Holt, Rinehart & Winston. New York
Student Feedback

All students are expected to give feedback for each module they take...

At the end of each module, students will be sent a link to a very short evaluation form. They will also be able to find this link on the Moodle page for their course. The survey takes a few minutes to fill in, and can even be done on a mobile phone. Students that do not respond to the survey the first time, will receive regular automated reminders until the survey is completed.

Students will not be given certification or proof of attendance for any module for which they have not provided feedback.

  • To gain maximum benefits from the course it is important that students do not see this course in isolation from the other MPhil courses or research training they are taking.
  • Responsibility lies with each student to consider the potential for their own research using methods common in fields of the social sciences that may seem remote. Ideally this task will be facilitated by integration of the SSRMC with discipline-specific courses in their departments and through reading and discussion.

Four sessions of one and a half hours each


Once a week for four weeks

Qualitative Methods

Events available