Rachel  Elmslie
Slide Set by Rachel Elmslie, updated more than 1 year ago
Rachel  Elmslie
Created by Rachel Elmslie over 5 years ago


An introductory guide to interviews for your SIS project.

Resource summary

Slide 1

    An introduction to using interviews in your Supported Independent Study Project. Read these notes and be able to discuss with another student the advantages and disadvantages of using interviews both generally, and to gather data for your specific SIS project.
    Caption: : " Se poser des questions en regardant plus haut" by Bernard Lamailloux Licensed under CC BY 2.0

Slide 2

    What are interviews useful for?
    They can produce qualitative data which is deeper, more detailed, and more personal than that from a questionnaire. Interviews give the researcher a chance to ask follow-up questions and gain a better understanding of an answer. You may need to be flexible by responding to previous answers.

Slide 3

    When you prepare for interviews
    The questions must be clear and easy to understand. Ensure all questions are relevant to your research question. Avoid sensitive or potentially embarrassing questions. You should give the interviewee the chance to prepare in some way, for example by sending them the questions before the interview or asking them to do a short questionnaire. Have a logical sequence of questions. Start with easier questions. Interview a friend first to see how long it takes and to check that they understand the questions. Dealing with interview data can be time-consuming, so don’t try to interview too many people. Interviews can be difficult to arrange: be flexible and patient. The interviewee may be very busy.

Slide 4

    In the interview
    At the beginning of the interview, introduce yourself and thank the interviewee for their time. Make sure the interviewee is aware of the interview aims and purpose. Say what you will do with the data. Confirm that the interviewee is happy to continue and that they don’t need to answer questions if they don’t want to. Say who to contact for more information. If they have any concerns they should contact the Course Director. Remind them that their information will be confidential and anonymous. You should listen actively and respond to the interviewee. Record the interview. You can transcribe it (write it out). Take notes during the interview.

Slide 5

    Different types of interview
    StructuredFollows a list of specific questions written before the interview. Makes answers easier to compare, but less personal and relevant to the individual.
    Semi-structured Uses questions written before the interview but may be adapted in the interview. The interviewee answers freely, with more developed answers.UnstructuredUses less prepared questions which may be more relevant to each interviewee. Natural answers but they may not all answer your questions. May be hard to analyse.

Slide 6

    Some interview question types
    Introducing questions eg “Could you tell me about…” Follow-up questions eg “what did you mean by…” Specifying questions eg “what did you do after that?” Closed questions eg “have you ever used Skype?” Checking questions eg “so you mean that…” (adapted from Kvalde, 1996, in

Slide 7

    Cohen, L., Manion, L., and Morrison, K. (2000). Research Methods in Education. (5th Edition). Routledge. Open University. Skills for OU Study: Using a questionnaire. Available from:    Accessed 10.4.16   UCL. Public Engagement Evaluation Toolkit: Questionnaires. Available from: Accessed 10.4.16
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