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Sitting on a wall in Northumberland crying: Semi-structured interviews

posted on 30.01.2015, 16:59 by Vicki Abusidualghoul, John Goodwin, Nalita James, Al Rainnie, Katherine Venter, Melissa White
[From Introduction] Alan Bryman in the 2nd edition of Social Research Methods (2004) has an extensive Chapter devoted to ‘Interviewing in Qualitative Research’ as well as sections on Ethnography and Focus groups. The Chapters provide an excellent introduction to issues such as the difference between semi and unstructured interviews, preparing the interview guide, kinds of question, recording and transcription etc. What the chapter does not do is tell you how to deal with the personal trauma of finding out that your tape deck has not worked on one of your very first interviews as a PhD student (sit on a wall outside the factory and cry). Nor does it tell you how to react over 20 years later when a superbly high tech mini cassette proves not to have recorded a single word of a two and a half hour brilliant interview with an old trade unionist (sit in the car outside and weep). In this Chapter we explore the lived realities of qualitative research, particularly the interview itself. We look at issues that arise in trying to gain access (abusive employers, mind numbing negotiations), the terror of technology (see above), the location of the interview (homes, cupboards, pubs), interviewing in another language (does TQM really translate into Polish as Total Management Control?), transcription (the agency cant understand a word Geordie shop stewards are saying), as well as electronic and internet facilitated research.



Abusidalaghoul, V., Goodwin, J., James, N., Rainnie, A., Venter, K., and White, M (2009) Sitting on a wall in Northumberland crying: The realities of semi-structured interviews, in Townsend, K. and Burgess, J. (eds) (2009) Method in the Madness? Research Stories You Won't Find in a Textbook. pp. 151-164.

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/Organisation/COLLEGE OF SOCIAL SCIENCE/Institute of Lifelong Learning


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Woodhead Publishing Limited (Elsevier) / Oxford: Chandos Publishing



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