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Tue 30 Jan, Tue 6 Feb, Tue 13 Feb 2024
10:30, ...

Provided by: Cambridge Research Methods


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Doing Qualitative Interviews

Tue 30 Jan, Tue 6 Feb, Tue 13 Feb 2024


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.

In Lent Term, the online resources are supported by 1 x zoom Q&A session, and 2 x in-person workshops. During the first in-person workshop students will role-play interviews using the scenarios outlined in the course moodle pages. During the second in-person workshop students will work in pairs on 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
  • Postgraduate students and staff
  • Further details regarding eligibility criteria are available here

Number of sessions: 3

# Date Time Venue Trainer
1 Tue 30 Jan   10:30 - 11:00 10:30 - 11:00 SSRMP Zoom   Charlotte Lemanski
2 Tue 6 Feb   10:30 - 11:30 10:30 - 11:30 Lecture Theatre A (Arts School) map Charlotte Lemanski
3 Tue 13 Feb   10:30 - 11:30 10:30 - 11:30 Lecture Theatre A (Arts School) map Charlotte Lemanski
Topics covered

1. Conducting qualitative interviews

2. Ethics and practical constraints

3. Practical session: interpretation and analysis


The time commitment for this module is significantly greater than just attending the 30 min Zoom session and 2 x 60 min in person workshop listed.

The teaching for this course is split over three weeks. While the online teaching materials are all available to be viewed immediately, students need to allocate specific study time (2.5 – 3.5 hours per week) to work through the material in advance of each Q&A session.

  • 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

This module is not assessed

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Moodle is the 'Virtual Learning Environment' (VLE) that the SSRMP uses to deliver online courses.

SSRMP lecturers use Moodle to make teaching resources available before, during, and/or after classes, and to make announcements and answer questions.

For this reason, it is vital that all SSRMP students enrol onto and explore their course Moodle pages once booking their SSRMP modules via the UTBS, and that they do so before their module begins. Moodle pages for modules should go live around a week before the module commences, but some may be made visible to students, earlier.

For more information, and links to specific Moodle module pages, please visit our website

Qualitative Methods

Booking / availability