Researching people (Note from Lecture)

Interviews and focus groups.

Interviews can be very unscripted, or scripted and in depth.

Looking at an in depth understanding of peoples thoughts and feelings.

Not all interviews have to be taken face to face.

Design questions in such a way as to gain the most amount of information.

They have a structure.

Usually 1 hour long, one to one. 

The role of the interviewer is to get them to talk.

Have to adopt varies techniques to get them to respond.


Need to think about who you are asking this questions to.

Need to think about how you choose who you speak to.


Advertising, will get the people who respond to adverts (sample bias) 

Snowballing, recommendation of people to talk to, 

We need to think about where we are will affect the interview. Need to make the interviewee comfortable.


Interview Practicalities 

Informing and reassuring your participants 


Interviewees should be told that they can stop at any point.

Let them know that there are no incorrect answers. They might give answers that they think we want.

Dress appropriately, for the place where you are doing the interview. If you don’t match you create power dynamic.

Must always get informed prior consent.


Topic guides 

Draw up a guide that has a structure. Not really phrased as questions, tings we are interested in finding out. 

Going to need to ament things in topic guide depending on what the participant gives. Want the participant to lead the discussion. 


At the start of the interview there might be a lot of un useful because its just making the participant feel like they trust them.

Need to have open and undirected questions. To encourage them to speak.

You have to allow for the fact that people may have a completely different perspective on the topic.


Non-directive questions.

The questions should not longer than the answers. You want people to keep talking.

Use non-directive prompts to get your interviewees to continue.  



Focus groups 

Often associated with market research.

One of the  ain beinfits of the focuse group, is you get to cover the thoughts and ideas with more people at the same time, they get rid of the awkwardness of one to one talking seen in interviews. Alows the researcher to take more of a back set rather than leading it. It can feel much like an interview between friends.

Similar principles to one to one interviews:

Schedule/topic guide

Funnelling questions (keeping on topic)

Moderator/ Facilitator

Important to think of focus groups as something more than interviews. We are interested in using activities. The idea of group dynamics is important.

Focus groups are the closest thing to a natural discussion of how we would discus topic. Group dynamics.

Practicalities, need to have name tags. 

Important to have refreshments, relaxes people makes them feel like that are comfortable. 

Need a moderator, needs someone to guide the discussion.

Need to record it on video. When you come to write it up you have something to reference to and see who is speaking. 

After interview and focus groups need to be trans scribed afterwards.

Need to think about how to set up the room and be able to talk to each other.

Need to make sure that people you don’t say much, contribute. Making sure not to allow them o form a consensus if some one in the group has a different idea. 





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