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Discover ECPR's Latest Methods Course Offerings

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Interviews for Qualitative Data Generation

Member rate £492.50
Non-Member rate £985.00

Save £45 Loyalty discount applied automatically*
Save 5% on each additional course booked

*If you attended our Methods School in July/August 2023 or February 2024.

Course Dates and Times

Monday 3 ꟷ Friday 7 August 2020
2 hours of live teaching per day
Courses will be either morning or afternoon to suit participants’ requirements

Alenka Jelen

University of Stirling

This seminar-type course provides a highly interactive online teaching and learning environment, using state of the art online pedagogical tools. It is designed for a demanding audience (researchers, professional analysts, advanced students) and capped at a maximum of 12 participants so that the Instructor can cater to the specific needs of each individual.

The purpose of this course is to:
•    offer in-depth understanding of qualitative interviews
•    develop your skills through practical experience in designing and conducting interviews
•    introduce approaches to interview data management and analysis.

ECTS Credits

3 credits Engage fully with class activities
4 credits Complete a post-class assignment

Instructor Bio

Alenka is Senior Lecturer at the University of Stirling. She holds a PhD in Sociology-Communication Sciences from the University of Ljubljana.

She has extensive international experience in interview research and teaching, and has been an ECPR Instructor since 2008.

Her research interests are in public relations, health and political communication, with a focus on academic development, gender, loss and intersections between media and politics.


Key topics covered

Day 1

Understanding interview research 

We begin with an introduction to contemporary debates in qualitative interviews, including approaches, epistemologies, and traditions underpinning interview research. Different types and forms of interviews as a source of knowledge generation are introduced before we proceed to practical discussions of interview design and data generation. 

Day 2

Field preparation strategies 

We examine different qualitative sampling strategies and explore persuasive techniques for gaining access to the field. We engage in the development of fieldwork preparation strategies through an ethical lens, including designing an interview guide and ethics forms (e.g. information sheet, consent form). A special focus is on developing and framing interview questions for achieving breadth and depth, while thinking through interview stages and strategies of inquiry. 

Day 3

Interview as a social interaction 

In interview research, a relationship between the interview and interviewee is integral to the method. We discuss face-to-face and mediated interviews from a social interaction perspective and consider different factors of influence, including trust, rapport, technology, socio-demographics, power, culture, gender and language. We discuss interviewing skills, qualities and responsibilities required to manage these in different physical and online interview situations and to enhance the data generation process.

Day 4

Data management process

We examine different approaches to data management and analysis in interview research. We address the issues related to ethical data recording, storage and handling, transcription, coding strategies, plurality of interpretations as well as risks of misunderstanding and under-theorisation of data. The strengths and limitations of traditional ‘by hand’ vs. computer-assisted qualitative data analysis are discussed.

Day 5

Critical reflection

The course concludes with critical reflection on interview research. We adopt ethical theory to summarise and (re)consider the ethical risks and dilemmas emerging from interview research and transactional theory to examine the role of reflexivity, critical self-assessment, researcher’s influence on the research process and ‘truthfulness’ of data. Current methodological debates, that focus on interviews and their quality assurance, strengths, risks and limitations, are reviewed.

How the course will work online

The course will provide pre-recorded short videos and assigned readings, outlining key theoretical principles, concepts, walkthroughs and tips in interview research. You will be required to watch/read these in advance of daily live presentations, seminar discussions and live work sessions on Zoom (totalling approximately 120 mins/day). 

Live sessions will focus on participants’ questions, reflections and experience. There will be dedicated time to work on your interview skills and techniques through daily exercises and assignments. These live sessions will be complemented by a Moodle discussion forum. 

You will be able to book one-to-one consultations with the Instructor, by arrangement, over the duration of the course.

You should know and understand the ontological, epistemological and theoretical underpinnings of qualitative research. 

You are recommended, but not required, to bring your own research project to the course.