Qualitative Research

Conducting an Interview

A Qualitative Interview is a method of collecting rich and detailed information about how individuals experience, understand and explain events in their lives. It is…

                    “…a conversation with a purpose” (Holloway, 1997) 

                    …a relationship between two or more human beings (Randall and Phoenix, 2009) 

Types of questioning

The Interview Guide

Borek et al. (2019). ‘We’re all in the same boat’: A qualitative study on how groups work in a diabetes prevention and management programme. British Journal of Health Psychology, 24(4), 787–805. https://doi.org/10.1111/bjhp.12379  Click here for interview guide

Examples of Interview Guides

Before the interview

During the interview

After the interview

Recommended Essential Reading

Mack, N., Woodsong, C., MacQueen, K.M., Guest, G. and Namey, E. (2005). Qualitative research methods: A data collector’s field guide. Family Health International https://www.fhi360.org/sites/default/files/media/documents/Qualitative%20Research%20Methods%20-%20A%20Data%20Collector%27s%20Field%20Guide.pdf 


References & Further Reading

Adeoye‐Olatunde, O. A., & Olenik, N. L. (2021). Research and scholarly methods: Semi‐structured interviews. Journal of the american college of clinical pharmacy, 4(10), 1358-1367. https://doi.org/10.1002/jac5.1441 

Arsel, Z. (2017). Asking questions with reflexive focus: A tutorial on designing and conducting interviews. Journal of Consumer Research, 44(4), 939-948. https://doi.org/10.1093/jcr/ucx096 

Brinkmann, S. (2013). Qualitative interviewing. Oxford university press. 

Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2019). To saturate or not to saturate? Questioning data saturation as a useful concept for thematic analysis and sample-size rationales. Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health, 1-16. https://doi.org/10.1080/2159676X.2019.1704846 

Dowling, F., & Flintoff, A. (2011). Getting beyond normative interview talk of sameness and celebrating difference. Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health, 3(1), 63-79. https://doi.org/10.1080/19398441.2011.547689 

Kallio, H., Pietilä, A. M., Johnson, M., & Kangasniemi, M. (2016). Systematic methodological review: developing a framework for a qualitative semi‐structured interview guide. Journal of advanced nursing, 72(12), 2954-2965. https://doi.org/10.1111/jan.13031 

Kvale, S. (1996) InterViews: An Introduction to Qualitative Interviewing. Sage Publications. [synopsis]

Turner, D. W., III. 2010. “Qualitative Interview Design: A Practical Guide for Novice Investigators.” The Qualitative Report 15:754-760. [full text]

Gerson, K., & Damaske, S. (2020). The science and art of interviewing. Oxford University Press.

Gubrium, J.F. (2012) The Sage handbook of interview research: the complexity of the craft London: Sage

Guest, G., Bunce, A., & Johnson, L. (2006). How many interviews are enough? An experiment with data saturation and variability. Field methods, 18(1), 59-82. https://doi.org/10.1177/1525822X05279903  

Jacob, S.A. and Furgerson, P.A. (2012) Writing Interview Protocols and Conducting Interviews: Tips for Students New to the Field of Qualitative Research. The Qualitative Report Volume 17, T&L Art. 6, 1-10 [full text]

Jerolmack, C., & Khan, S. (2014). Talk is cheap: Ethnography and the attitudinal fallacy. Sociological methods & research, 43(2), 178-209. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F0049124114523396 

Josselson, R. (2013). Interviewing for qualitative inquiry: A relational approach. Guilford Press. 

King, N. and Horrocks, C. (2010) Interviews in qualitative research London: Sage

Knott, E., Rao, A. H., Summers, K., & Teeger, C. (2022). Interviews in the social sciences. Nature Reviews Methods Primers, 2(1), 73. https://doi.org/10.1038/s43586-022-00150-6 

Langley, A., & Meziani, N. (2020). Making interviews meaningful. The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 56(3), 370-391. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F0021886320937818 

Lareau, A. (2021). Listening to People: A Practical Guide to Interviewing, Participant Observation, Data Analysis, and Writing it All Up. University of Chicago Press.

Liamputtong, P. (2011). Focus group methodology: Principle and practice. Sage publications.

McNiff, K. (2017) Are You Really Listening? Tips For Conducting Qualitative Interviews. https://www.qsrinternational.com/nvivo-qualitative-data-analysis-software/resources/blog/tips-for-conducting-qualitative-interviews 

Morgan, D. L. (2010). Reconsidering the role of interaction in analyzing and reporting focus groups. Qualitative health research, 20(5), 718-722.[full text]

Potter, J., & Hepburn, A. (2012). Eight challenges for interview researchers. Handbook of interview research, 2(1), 541-570. [www]

Randall, W. L., & Phoenix, C. (2009). The problem with truth in qualitative interviews: reflections from a narrative perspective. Qualitative research in sport and exercise, 1(2), 125-140. https://doi.org/10.1080/19398440902908993 

Roulston, K. (2010). Considering quality in qualitative interviewing. Qualitative Research, 10(2), 199-228.[full text]

Roulston, K. (2011) Reflective Interviewing: A Guide to Theory and Practice London: Sage [chapter 1]

Rutakumwa, R., Mugisha, J. O., Bernays, S., Kabunga, E., Tumwekwase, G., Mbonye, M., & Seeley, J. (2019). Conducting in-depth interviews with and without voice recorders: a comparative analysis. Qualitative Research, 1468794119884806. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F1468794119884806 

Salmons, J. (2014). Qualitative online interviews: Strategies, design, and skills. Sage Publications. 

Schostak, J. (2005). Interviewing and representation in qualitative research. McGraw-Hill Education (UK).

Silverman, D. (2010) Doing Qualitative Research (3rd ed) London: Sage

Shelton, S. A., & Flint, M. A. (2020). Dichotomies of method and practice: a review of literature on transcription. Qualitative Research Journal. https://doi.org/10.1108/QRJ-05-2020-0046 

Smith, B. (2018). Generalizability in qualitative research: Misunderstandings, opportunities and recommendations for the sport and exercise sciences. Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health, 10(1), 137-149. https://doi.org/10.1080/2159676X.2017.1393221 

Smith, B., & Sparkes, A. C. (2016). Interviews: Qualitative interviewing in the sport and exercise sciences. In Routledge handbook of qualitative research in sport and exercise (pp. 125-145). Routledge. 

Sparkes, A. C., & Smith, B. (2014). Qualitative research methods in sport, exercise and health: From process to product. London: Routledge.

Stuckey, H. L. (2013). Three types of interviews: Qualitative research methods in social health. Journal of Social Health and Diabetes, 1(02), 056-059. http://dx.doi.org/10.4103/2321-0656.115294 

Tausch, A. P., & Menold, N. (2016). Methodological aspects of focus groups in health research: results of qualitative interviews with focus group moderators. Global qualitative nursing research, 3, 2333393616630466. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F2333393616630466 

Tavory, I. (2020). Interviews and inference: Making sense of interview data in qualitative research. Qualitative Sociology, 43(4), 449-465. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11133-020-09464-x  

Tong, A., Sainsbury, P., & Craig, J. (2007). Consolidated criteria for reporting qualitative research (COREQ): a 32-item checklist for interviews and focus groups. International journal for quality in health care, 19(6), 349-357. https://academic.oup.com/intqhc/article-lookup/doi/10.1093/intqhc/mzm042 

Turner, D.W. (2010) Qualitative Interview Design: A Practical Guide for Novice Investigators. The Qualitative Report 15(3): 754-760 [full text]

Studies that have used interviews as a method

Borek et al. (2019). ‘We’re all in the same boat’: A qualitative study on how groups work in a diabetes prevention and management programme. British Journal of Health Psychology, 24(4), 787–805. https://doi.org/10.1111/bjhp.12379  Click here for interview guide

Portman, R. M., Levy, A. R., Maher, A. J., & Fairclough, S. J. (2021). Co-developing peer interventions in health-related contexts: A case study from exercise referral. Health Education Journal, 00178969211045106. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F00178969211045106 

Further Links

Qualitative Research Methods - another resource page on this website

How to conduct a focus group

A toolkit for conducting focus groups

SAGE Research Methods: Conducting Focus Groups

Should we transcribe everything - Tweet by Trish Greenhalgh (Feb, 2020)

Sample Interview Guide

McEwan, D., Bennett, E. V., & Rhodes, R. E. (2021). Collaboration behaviors within interactive exercise groups. Psychology & Health, 36 (9), 1066-1087. https://doi.org/10.1080/08870446.2020.1836177 

Sample Semi-structured interview guide