Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Feeling in the Blah-Blah

Interviews can be a rich method when understanding views from your respondents.  It is a conversation with  a purpose between two or more persons as easily put by Bonnie Brennen in her book Qualitative Research Methods for Media Studies. A very simplistic method, provided you ask the right questions! As very rightly put by Ann Oakley, "Interviews is rather like marriage; everybody knows what it is, an awful lot of people do it, and yet behind each closed front door there is a world of secrets." Interviews can be in different formats, structured, semi-structured and unstructured.  Each format goes lesser on standardized and fixed set of questions, in that order. Face to Face is apt for using the interview method but telephonic, email interviews are now also in vogue.

Listening not only to words but to emotions too is vital while taking interviews. There are many a times the "feeling tone" as put by Studs Terkel (1992) stands true when you need that "thick description" of the lives that people lead.

My experience as a researcher has also been that body language, ambiance, how the respondents breaks while in the interview to speak to his colleague, or to take that urgent call, speaks a lot about the totality of the person in question and his/her views.

Of course standard practice is to take permission before beginning interviews, recording them and publishing them. The analysis can be done separating themes, emerging categories and the color in the words being used.

This is an excellent though time consuming process but can give a deep insight into what the customer, employee expects from the concerned organization. A perfect method for practices of public relations, marketing, advertising, films etc.

Images courtesy: Internet