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Tue 11 Feb, Tue 18 Feb, Tue 25 Feb 2020
14:00 - 16:00

Venue: Institute of Criminology, Room B3

Provided by: Social Sciences Research Methods Programme


Bookings cannot be made on this event (Event is in the past).

Other dates:

Tue 9 Feb 2021

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Qualitative Interviews with Vulnerable Groups

Tue 11 Feb, Tue 18 Feb, Tue 25 Feb 2020


Qualitative interviews are often used in the social sciences to learn more about the world and can be particularly appropriate for people we might class as vulnerable. The course will try to achieve two things. First, it will have a strong practical arc, guiding students through the complete process of designing and delivering interviews and what to do with the data when you have it. It is particularly important, therefore, that students come to the course prepared with a research question in mind (it does not have to be your actual dissertation topic). Second, we will repeatedly think carefully about the challenges of interviewing with populations that are deemed vulnerable (especially prisoners, women in the criminal justice system, and people living with trauma). We will explore how, in all stages of the research cycle, questions of ethics and the importance of understanding ‘whole people’ remain pertinent.

In the first session we will think about how to frame a study and research question, and how to design an interview schedule that allows you to access your question sensibly and creatively! We will also think about the challenges of interviewing those with trauma, in particular, as a case study.

In the second session we will think through the challenges of actually undertaking interviews in the field. Many hints and tip will be shared, and students will be encouraged to undertake a short mock interview.

In the third session we explore various ways in which to approach a mass of interview data and different approaches towards analysis.

In the final session, we burrow down into analysis and talk about how to write up your research.

In both of the final sessions students will be asked to engage with real interview transcripts that have been anonymised.

Target audience
  • University Students from Tier 1 Departments
  • Further details regarding eligibility criteria are available here

Number of sessions: 3

# Date Time Venue Trainer
1 Tue 11 Feb   14:00 - 16:00 14:00 - 16:00 Institute of Criminology, Room B3 map Dr Ben Laws
2 Tue 18 Feb   14:00 - 16:00 14:00 - 16:00 Institute of Criminology, Room B3 map Dr Ben Laws
3 Tue 25 Feb   14:00 - 16:00 14:00 - 16:00 Institute of Criminology, Room B3 map Dr Ben Laws
Topics covered

Note: all sessions include a strong practical element

1. Designing good interviews and the question of trauma

2. The art of interviewing (how to listen, finding your voice)

3. Analysing your interviews I (where to start)

4. Analysing your interviews II (how to write & finish)

Reading List

The following list of reading materials provide useful context for the course, but is not mandatory:

Van der Kolk, B. A. (2015). The body keeps the score: Brain, mind, and body in the healing of trauma. Penguin Books.

Levine, P. A. (2010). In an unspoken voice: How the body releases trauma and restores goodness. North Atlantic Books.

Noaks, L. and Wincup, E. (2004) Criminological Research: Understanding qualitative methods, London: Sage Publications. (An excellent overview of qualitative research methods, with useful examples.)

Brinkmann, S. and Kvale, S. (2015) InterViews: Learning the craft of qualitative research interviewing, 3rd ed., Los Angeles: Sage.

Maruna, S. (2001) Making Good: How ex-convicts reform and rebuild their lives, Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Becker, H.S. (1998) Tricks of the Trade: How to think about your research while you're doing it, Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Spradley, J. (1996) The Ethnographic Interview, London: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. Or see the (1979) edition, New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston.

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Qualitative Methods

Booking / availability