Preparation for an interview

  • A necessary but not sufficient condition for doing research is to keep careful and accurate notes about what you did, how you did it and why you did it. In a sense this information ought to allow someone else to come along and more or less replicate what you did. You can keep these notes in your research journal or notebook it does not matter but you must make them and make them as detailed as you possibly can.
  • In preparing for the interview make sure you have spare batteries for the voice recorder you are using. You may find it useful to even have a backup recorder in case things go wrong with your recorder of choice.
  • Pay attention to the location where you will conduct the interview. If it is a noisy area, you may find if very difficult to hear the conversation. One way around that is to use clip-on microphones to record the interview.
  • Familiarise yourself with your questions. You might even make a short list of the themes you wish to discuss with your interviewee. There is no harm in showing the person you are interviewing that list.
  • Do some homework on the people you will be interviewing. It may be that there is little online but there may be information about the education system or school in which they work.
  • Check if the name is unusual or difficult to pronounce how to pronounce it before you begin the interview.
  • Even though they have probably just signed an informed consent form, give them a brief sense of what you plan the interview to cover.
  • Take a bit of time to chat informally with the interviewee before the interview. Try and create a relaxed, convivial atmosphere.
  • To obtain a good clear audio recording, you will want them to speak clearly and slowly. Emphasise how much you appreciate their time and then say something like, "I really appreciate your sharing your thoughts with me on "the topic". So that I don't miss anything can I ask you to speak slowly and stay close to the recorder?"
  • Before you do the interview, do a little test for volume with both of you sitting in what you have decided will be interview positions. Play it back and adjust things until you are happy with the volume of the recording.
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License