When faced with the question of how to conduct an interview for research, does the process seem daunting to you?

If it does, you are not alone.  Not only do newbies have to deal with new theory, but also new methods of inquiry and data collection.

Do not fret, this complete guide will give you easy, step-by-step instructions on how to get it all done like an expert.

So, let’s get started.

Why is Conducting Research Interviews Important?

conducting a research interview

Qualitative research interviews are a crucial data collection tool for a wide variety of methods used within education research.

They help researchers with opportunities to explore, in great detail, unique experiences of the participants, allowing in-depth insights into how their different interests are experienced and perceived.

For many newbies the learning curve can be difficult, especially if their university hasn’t provided them with an easy-to-follow guide on how to conduct an interview for research.

With this article though, we aim to make things easier for you.

How to Prepare for a Research Interview

Understanding Different Types of Research Interviews

  • One-on-one Interview with an Individual
  • Interview with 2-3 Participants
  • Focus Group Research Interviews

With COVID-19 dominating the better part of 2020, at the time of writing of this article, it’s no surprise that most of these interviews are now done over the phone or by using VoIP services like Zoom, Skype etc.

Interview Types for Qualitative Research

Unstructured Interviews: No questions are prepared beforehand.  The interview often progresses like a normal conversation around the research topic.

Semi-Structured Interviews:  An interview guide is prepared beforehand.  However, the interviewer does not strictly follow a list of formal questions.  Instead, more open-ended questions are asked, allowing for a discussion with the participant rather than the traditional question and answer format.

Structured Interviews:  As the name suggests, these interviews strictly adhere to a formal list of questions.  It’s probably the least flexible out of the three.

Semi-structured interview format has been the most commonly used and successful lately.

When it comes to formatting, verbatim transcription is also a commonly used technique.

Challenges with Conducting a Research Interview

There are very few, or no guidelines at all for conducting qualitative research interviews.

Authors of the book InterViews; Learning the Craft of Qualitative Research Interviewing”, Svend Brinkmann and Steinar Kvale from prominent universities in Denmark, argue that one of the challenges of conducting interviews is that they are carried out under the naïve assumption that the researcher wants to achieve understanding through dialog and discussion.

They also suggest that interviews should not be conceived as informal chats with interviewees; instead they are data-collection instruments which can be used to penetrate a number of research questions.

That could be analyzed as six of one, half a dozen of the other.

The steps recommended in this complete guide on how to conduct a research interview has evolved out of working with research students from prominent universities from around the world for the last 15 years.

Furthermore, which is supplemented with our own extensive research on literature surrounding qualitative research methods.