Explorations and critiques of interviewing method

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Explorations and critiques of interviewing method


The purpose of the Interview Method research paper is for students to explore, critique and reflect on interview method as a data generation technique in qualitative inquiry. In exploring the topic of qualitative interviewing, students are to conduct a review of the interview method from their disciplinary perspective. This first stage in conducting research about interviewing method will have two key outcomes (1) a short literature review of how and why interviewing is used in your discipline, and (2) a rich and detailed description of: the types of interviews used in your discipline; systematically examine the sampling explanations in your discipline; evidence of data collection tools including interviewing protocols and question styles; researcher positionality and ethical considerations – from your discipline’s perspective. It is important to note the emphasis of ‘disciplinary perspective’, because scholarly research is situated within a particular perspectives. As research students it is important to clarify where and how a data generation method fits into your school of thought.

Expectation: Students will need to collate a maximum of 10 current papers (in the last 5 years) from quality research journals from your discipline (Journals ranked A*and A on the Australian Business Dean’s Council List – ABDC). Your database of quality articles should then be extended with current reading from social science method journals (e.g., Qualitative Inquiry; Qualitative Research; Journal of Mix Method Research; Qualitative Market Research, etc). NB: When finalising your reference list for the paper, use an asterisk* to indicate the disciplinary journals that have informed your review. For example, *Previte, et al., (2020) – full citation.

Following your review of interview method in your discipline, your critique should be informed by (1) the advantages and limitations of interview method as identified in the academic papers from your discipline, and (2) the broader social research methods literatures about interviewing method. The critique phase of your paper should be constructive, rather than “fault finding” (Badley, 2019). From this position you will demonstrate being rigorous in questioning and analysing the relevant arguments that guide the use of interviewing as a data collection technique in your discipline. Central to this section of the paper is inclusion of researchers’ justifications for inclusion of additional qualitative data generation techniques. Specifically, analysing scholarly arguments that extend interview data collection with focus groups; elicitation and projective techniques, observation (online and offline); or, other data generating techniques we have covered in the course. Students need to avoid creating a simply checklist of advantages and disadvantages, and seek to qualify and justify the contribution of interviewing method to social science research inquiry.

Expectation: Students must present a systematic and clearly argued analysis of interview method and the rational and justification for interviewing combined with other qualitative techniques. Specifically, your paper must be clear about the research advantages and challenges acknowledged in your discipline’s literature to present a well-argued case for the use of qualitative interviewing and other data generation techniques (consider the use of summative tables to display your thinking). Students need to take a position on the quality standards of qualitative interviewing in their discipline (for example, does your discipline demonstrate innovative and rigours engagement with qualitative interviewing, or based on your review of the literature is the approach limited, and applied formulaically?).

The final section of your paper engages researcher reflection. Here students will reflect on the qualitative data collection activities we have explored through the class project on COVID-19. Specifically, based on the method review conducted in your paper, (1) reflect on your own experience in completing data generation using interview and observation method; and (2) discuss ONE additional data collection activity you could incorporate into your research design to further develop the research project outcomes.

Expectation: In this section students need to address and demonstrate how they engaged with the planning and conduct of qualitative data collection, which includes: interview protocol design, procedure for recruiting participants, use of piloting, completing observation; documenting researcher insight with fieldwork notes/research journal, preliminary analysis. NB: include as appendices your interview protocol; observation template; format for fieldwork/journal. Additionally, students need to justify the inclusion of ONE additional data generation technique and justify its inclusion for the study design (here the student needs to reflect on how the data generating techniques create a rich evidence base to answer the research problem). Students are required to complete ONE further interview for the COVID-19 study, and incorporate this experience and insight into their paper.


These papers are writing from a specific disciplinary perspective, yet they also provide valuable insight about why and how interviewing maintains an important role in qualitative inquiry.

Dowling et al., (2016), Qualitative methods I: Enriching the interview, Progress in Human

Geography, 40(5): 679-686.

Dowling et al., (2017), Qualitative methods II: ‘More-than-human’ methodologies and/in

praxis, Progress in Human Geography, 41(6): 823-831.

Dowling et al., (2018), Qualitative methods III: Experimenting, picturing, sensing, Progress in

Human Geography, 42(5): 779-788.

Rinaldo, R., and Guhin, J. (2019), How and why interviews work: Ethnographic interviews and meso-level public culture, Sociological Methods & Research, DOI: 10.1177/0049124119882471

The recommended readings from our Week 4 and 5 discussion on interviewing are also useful sources on interview method perspectives.


Methodspace (https://www.methodspace.com/) is a research resource created by researchers based on their experiences and recommendations for research reading. This group has also put together a list of interesting resources to cope with the doing research during the COVID-19 crisis. Take time to review and extend your understanding of social science research by learning from other researchers’ experiences.

Professor Deborah Lupton, a leading scholar in ethnographic and digital research methods

has presented an online webinar on “Conducting Qualitative Fieldwork During

COVID-19” which can be viewed from this youtube link:


mb_logo. She has also shared a very useful resource for “doing fieldwork in a

pandemic” use this google doc link to review the crowdsource document that

provides a range of research resources:



Links to these resources are also accessible from our RBUS6904 Research Resources are on our Blackboard.


Students are to write a research paper of 3000 words (+/-20%) that draws from on a range of research evidence to support their research argument. The majority of citations should refer to quality business and social research journals when completing the literature review section of the paper, however, inclusion of researcher blogs and other sources are also acceptable (but should be kept to a minimum).

An abstract of no more than 150 words should be included at the beginning of the paper, and a Reference list attached as the final page. Select and consistently apply the referencing style typically used in your discipline. (e.g., APA, etc.). The abstract and reference list are not included in the word count.


Submit the research paper using the Blackboard turnitin link which is open prior to submission for student to check and review the correct citation of work submitted for assessment.

Please note: a paper submitted that exceeds the maximum word count of 3000 is not a valid submission and the paper will be returned to you, and so on until the paper complies with submission requirements (i.e., the word limit). A late penalty will apply per day after the deadline until a paper that complies with submission requirements is received.

Explorations and critiques of interviewing method