Thursday, 16 July 2009

Types of interview questions

Kvale elaborates on types of interview questions under the headings:
  1. introducing questions: e.g. "can you tell about.." "do you remember an occasion when .."
  2. follow-up questions: e.g. nod
  3. probing questions: "could you say something more about that?"
  4. specifying questions: e.g. "what did you think then?"
  5. direct questions
  6. indirect questions: e.g. "how do you think /believe other ... ?"
  7. structuring questions: e.g. "I'd now like to introduce .."
  8. silence
  9. interpreting questions: e.g. "you mean that...?"
I can plan some of these questions, like introducing, specifying and direct questions, but other types are where an interviewer has to be listening and reacting to the situation. It's quite reassuring to read these categories that someone else recognises as questions that you are likely to ask if you want to get more from an interview. Silence is interesting too. It doesn't show up much on my recordings because I've set the machine's variable control voice actuator, so that it only records when the volume is at the threshold level. But sometimes a participant needs silence while reflecting, and an interviewer mustn't interrupt, but allow that time to reflect. Anyhow, overtalking means the recording becomes difficult to hear afterwards, so silence is important.

Kvale, 1996, InterViews: introduction to qualitative research interviewing

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