Research Interview Guidelines: Process and Stages
The interview guidelines discussed in this paper can be used as guidelines for conducting both qualitative and quantitative research interviews. Interview guidelines can be broadly divided into three stages, namely the stage of interview preparation, the interview process, and interview evaluation, including problems that often arise in research using interview techniques.
I wrote this interview guide sourced from a book chapter written by Irawati Singarimbun entitled “Interview Techniques”. I complete the source of the book with examples that I have taken from my personal experience conducting interviews for more than one hundred times, when I was an assistant field researcher.
This post will briefly review the interview stages as part of the interview guidelines. The reader can reflect only a few relevant stages. For example, readers who need inspiration about how to conduct research interview preparation, can only read the research interview preparation section. We start from the preparation of the interview.
Stages of interview guidelines
At this stage, planning to conduct interviews must be carried out as optimal as possible. Normatively, interview preparation involves making an interview guide, writing a list of potential informants, including contact numbers if available, making appointments with prospective informants, and preparing equipment and documents needed for interviews, such as recording tools, research permits, proposals or whatever is needed.
I don’t need to discuss in detail the other preparations because the reader understands better what is needed to go to the field. If you go to the field on a motorbike, gas must not be empty. I don’t need to review the details of this matter. What I need to review is more substantial things like interview guides.
Interview guides need to be made merely as a tool for researchers to conduct interviews. Keep in mind once again that the interview guide is not a list of interview questions, but only as a tool. As a tool, researchers may or may not prepare it.
Interview guides are made as simple as possible. Researchers can write questions that will be asked with just one or two words. For example, in research on environmental activism, researchers will ask about what motivates informants to join the environmental community. In the interview guide, it is enough to write community motivation. Other questions are also so that the interview is more flowing because researchers do not need to keep their heads down for too long reading texts such as news broadcasts.
If the researcher has understood the issues and questions to be discussed, of course the interview guide will only be taken as a supplement. The interview goes like normal chatting. This technique is usually carried out by researchers who have high flight hours where before going down to the field, all research questions are understood by heart. The interview guide is only used to control it so that there aren’t too many questions.
Unlike researchers who have high flight hours, novice researchers need an interview guide as an absolute guide. I advise readers who are still novice researchers to get used to mastering the list of research questions before going to the field. Risks that are usually borne if there are questions that are missing are researchers visiting or re-contacting the informant to answer questions that were missed. Interview guidelines
So far we have only discussed interview guides. The next thing that needs to be prepared in this preparation stage is that researchers must start and maintain good relations with prospective informants. Ensure that there is no psychological tension between the researcher and the prospective informant that can reduce the enthusiasm of the informant to be interviewed.
For example, researchers found prospective informant social media accounts filled with support for Arsenal. Liverpool’s own researchers are sensitive to Arsenal fans. When researchers make a cynical post about Arsenal as a big team but rarely win but are supported continuously and the post is read by prospective informants, then seeds of hostility may arise. The interview that will be conducted the next day can not be optimal because of the emergence of emotional tension between rival club fans.
The message I want to convey here is to create a cool and peaceful space for prospective informants so that during the interview, the informants feel they have the freedom to express their opinions. Image researchers as people who do not have personal interests with informants other than interviews are also important to maintain.
Other issues that need to be prepared in addition to interview guides and good relations are making appointment schedules. It is not possible to introduce ourselves, then directly in-depth interviews. Actually it is okay to use that method if it is not possible to make a specific interview schedule. The important point is that the researcher introduces himself and conveys his needs before getting permission and determining the time of the interview.
If the informant breaks or has free time and wants to be interviewed, the interview can begin immediately. If the informant is busy, let the informant choose the time and place. I have directly conducted interviews either on the spot or made an appointment first. If I make an appointment, I invite prospective informants to determine the time and place.
After proper preparation and time for the interview, make sure you are in place before the informant arrives. Of course, if the interview is not done at the informant’s house. Starting an interview needs to be flexible as if the researcher is a wealthy and well-known senior journalist.
This flexibility is sometimes not shared by young researchers. In the past, I often felt nervous when I met informants even though the informants were ordinary people, in the sense that they were not public figures or public officials. After several meetings with informants, I was able to get the flexibility myself. What I want to convey here is if you are a novice researcher, no need to worry if you are nervous about meeting an informant. Just focus on increasing flight hours.
Even before, if the interview was rejected by prospective informants even though we really need the data, don’t be angry or disappointed. Rejection of the interview is also part of the dynamics of the study. Just record it as field data that there are informants who refuse with or without reasons that researchers know.
The interview process should begin with the disclosure of the researcher’s true identity, research topic, and the purpose of the research. Openness is a key principle here. Of course, this openness or transparency must be based on ethical reasons. Regarding the details of how the research interview process is carried out, the reader can click on my previous post about the research interview technique, there is a more detailed explanation there. Next, we immediately jumped to the last stage of this interview guide post.
Evaluate the interview
After the interview is finished, I always deliver a message to my participants if there is something I am missing I will contact again. Of course, if participants do not mind being contacted again. This message was delivered just in case there is data needed but not asked.
The interview evaluation stage is actually very simple. The researcher only needs to check whether all questions have been answered or have been missed. Inspection is not only on the aspect of quantity but also quality. Quality data tends to produce quality research. If the interview is conducted using a recording device, double check that the recording is stored properly.
I did an interview for two hours but was not recorded because of technical problems with the recording equipment. Disappointed, but life must go on. When I asked my supervisor about this issue, his comments were simple, according to him it was part of the research dynamic. Wisdom that can be taken here is when interviewing, do not rely entirely on recording devices. Practice brain memory by remembering. The recording tool is used for complements only. If the recording error, immediately record anything that is remembered because if delayed can forget.
From the three stages that I used as the interview guide, it appears that the preparation stage is the longest stage of explanation. This does not mean that the other stages are not more important, but that if the preparation is complete, other things become easier. If these three stages are mastered, the researcher is ready to conduct research that uses interviews as one of the data collection methods.
Research Methodology: Approaches, Types & Examples
Research methodology is a basic principle regarding research methods applied in the research process. The methodology is different from the method. The two terms are indeed often used interchangeably because they have similar meanings. Social scientist named Andrew Abbott (2001) distinguishes the definition of the two terms as follows: methodology is a basic principle, while method is the technique of its application.
This post will discuss the research methodology, especially in social research. I use Andrew Abbott’s proposed definition of social research methodology because it is easy to understand. As a basic principle, the discussion in this post will emphasize the basic understanding and principles of a method.
Methodology, etymologically can be interpreted as the science of methods. Researchers who master the research methodology can be considered to master the most fundamental parts of the research process. The technique of applying research methodology can be called a method. In other words, the term method is the same as technique. For example, the “data analysis method” can also be called a “data analysis technique”.
In writing a research proposal or report, the methodology chapter not only covers methods, but more than that, such as samples and populations for example. This post will divide the discussion into two parts, namely the approach and type of research accompanied by examples. The structure of the discussion is as follows:
Mix / mix / mix method
Types & examples of research methodologies
We begin with a research approach, followed by a type of research methodology. The following three research approaches are commonly studied in social research methods.
The quantitative research approach uses a quantitative research design. This approach focuses on the numerical aspects as data, both in the process of gathering and the results of the analysis.
Quantitative research approaches are applied to answer research questions that can be quantified or measured in numbers. For example, research on “The level of social inequality in Indonesia”. Social inequality is a variable that can be measured by numbers.
Quantitative approaches generally apply the process of deduction in the relationship between data and theory. Deduction means, withdrawal of unity starts from the theory in the head of the researcher and then tested with data in the field.
For example, research on social inequality. Researchers have a theory derived from previous research that “social inequality is caused by high levels of urbanization”. The theory was tested in the field through the methods applied, for example calculating the relationship between the level of urbanization with the gap in regional income between villages and cities.
This process is similar to the research process in natural sciences. The research model can be called positivism, where social reality is an object that is separate from the researcher’s experience. Some questions which if can be answered quantitatively should use a quantitative approach.
The qualitative approach emphasizes the quality aspect. That is, elaborating social and cultural meanings that are not easily measured by numbers to explain the phenomena under study. Qualitative research data are usually descriptive or narrative.
It is clear that this approach is applied to answer qualitative research questions. For example, research on “mural art as social criticism”. How street artists express their social criticism through mural art cannot be measured by numbers. Therefore, research like this is more relevant using a quantitative approach.
When drawn to the extreme, a qualitative approach can be called the opposite of a quantitative approach. Actually, researchers are arguing about this. I use extreme explanations to make it easier to understand. For example, if quantitative research tends to apply a deductive process in explaining the relationship between theory and data, then qualitative research tends to apply the induction process.
Induction process means, drawing conclusions from field data. In other words, theory emerged as a product of field findings. The process starts with going to the field to collect data. The data that has been collected is processed so that it becomes a theory.
Extremely, the qualitative approach rejects positivistic natural science research models. In social science, according to this approach, researchers as individuals have a role as interpreters of the social world. That is, social reality is part of the experience of researchers.
Mix or mix method
Mixed approach is a combination of quantitative and quantitative research approaches. Some social scientists are quite skeptical of this third approach. Their skepticism is usually built on the assumption that it is impossible for the two approaches to be applied together in a balanced way.
In fact, the application of the mix method always emphasizes one approach and places the other approach as a complement. This is the basis for the emergence of skeptical views on a mixed approach.
The distinction between quantitative and qualitative approaches is also not approved by some social scientists. As mentioned earlier, this post is only to build an initial understanding of the research methodology, not to discuss further about the methodological debate.
Mixed approach is applied to answer research questions which if not answered by using a combination of quantitative and qualitative, the results of the study will be considered less valid or less qualified.
This consideration must certainly be based on the availability of data and the ability of researchers to combine both approaches. Of course it is not easy to combine different types of data and sometimes even contradict each other.
Examples of research that can apply a combined approach, for example research on “The resilience of the Merapi community in dealing with the risk of the eruption of the mountain” If the researcher believes that the combination of qualitative and quantitative data is the best way to answer the problem formulation, then the relevant mix method is used.
The next explanation is the types of research methodology accompanied by examples. This explanation is a summary of a longer version that I have written in several previous blog posts. There are eleven types of research methodology. Because the type of research discussed here is included in the research methodology post, I will emphasize its definition or definition more than the implementation technique.
Types and examples of research methodologies
Survey research methodology is part of quantitative research in which primary data is collected using a questionnaire or questionnaire as a research instrument. Survey research questionnaire design was aimed at individuals who were respondents.
Survey research respondents are research samples that represent the population. Please note the difference between population and sample here. The population is the entire population, while the sample is those who represent it. Those selected as samples must be representative. Therefore, researchers apply relevant sampling techniques to obtain representative samples.
Examples of research that can apply survey methodology, for example research on “Preparation for Preventing Small Enterprises (SMEs) in Jakarta in Facing the ASEAN Economic Community”. The questionnaire was designed to be addressed to a number of SMEs in Jakarta who were the study sample.
Longitudinal research is a research design that is applied to measure a change or development of a phenomenon in the long run. This research methodology usually applies surveys to collect data from research samples. Longitudinal research can be said not often done in social research. The cost and time needed for this research are very high.
In a longitudinal study, researchers applied a survey to several respondents who were sampled. Within a predetermined period of time, the study sample must be visited again at least once for the survey. Longitudinal research can be divided into two types, namely panel studies and cohort studies.
The study panel took a random sample. Usually the sample is a representation on a national scale or certain geographical aspects. Cohort studies take samples randomly but based on the same or similar characteristics, for example being born on the same date or the same week. Both are only distinguished by the process of collecting data.
Grounded research or grounded research
In contrast to several types of previous research methodologies, this type of grounded research is typical of qualitative research. This research emphasizes the intention to produce new theories derived from ground data. In other words, the theory was born from the involvement of participants who produced field data.
Researchers who apply this type of research do not use concepts or theories that are already known from literature or other sources. The researcher abandoned his theory because he was sure that field data could show a new theory with higher validity. The resulting new theory implies an in-depth data exploration effort in the process of collection and analysis.
This type of research was born from the discipline of sociology. In general, researchers study the actions and social interactions that occur as the focus of their research. This research involved several individuals as research participants.
Phenomenology research is similar to grounded research. If grounded involves the intention to explore to find new theories, phenomenological research is more likely to be descriptive and elaborative.
Researchers who apply phenomenology seek to understand the essence of the experience of research participants. The essence of this experience can generally be known through participatory observation and in-depth interviews. The essence of individual experience is the focus of phenomenological research.
Examples of phenomenological research, for example research on “The Existence of the Jewish Community in Indonesia”. To understand how their experience of being a minority in a country whose religion is not recognized by the government and possibly the public, phenomenological research can be applied.
Ethnographic research focuses on the efforts of researchers to describe and interpret certain cultural groups. The term “ethno” describes the cultural patterns that are believed and practiced by certain groups in everyday life. This type of research is also typically qualitative.
Ethnographic studies are widely applied in sociology and anthropology research. The group studied is not as a traditional ethnic group, but can also be a modern group that is built with the similarity of certain modern cultures.
Examples of ethnographic studies, for example research on “Environmental Awareness among Backpackers”. Ethnography can be used as a methodology as well as analytical techniques to describe and interpret how these independent traveler or backpacker groups interpret environmental problems.
Narrative research focuses on individual life experiences. Studies that apply this type of research are similar to biographical studies. Some researchers even say that narrative research is the best way to produce biographical books.
This type of research exploration is carried out to explore the experiences of the individuals under study. Life experiences are expressed through stories based on memories. The method of in-depth interviews and document research became the main data collection techniques. Although the focus of the research is on individual experience, researchers can involve more than one individual. It should be emphasized here that the involvement of more than one participant is not intended as a comparison.
Examples of research that can apply this type, for example are about “Life on a Shipwreck: The Experience of Two Refugees from Myanmar”, where researchers raise the life story of two Rohingya refugees who crossed the sea and his ship sank.
As stated earlier, this research can be used to write biographies. But this research is more appropriately called biographical research.
This type of case study research methodology is conducted for research that seeks to develop understanding by describing in depth a case that is the focus of research. Case study research involves researchers’ deep understanding of the case under study.
Cases that are studied using this type of methodology can be events, programs, and activities that occur at specific locations and places. Individuals who have experience or knowledge related to the case under study are the most potential participants.
The scope of case study research is very limited and can even be said to be narrow, but profound. Researchers tend to ignore the themes that emerge if they are not relevant to the case under study, as interesting as the themes that emerge.
Case study research examples, for example “Deviations of Power in Government by Activists 98 Post New Order”. Researchers want to find out how the practice of power deviations that occurred after the New Order by officials who were formerly reform activists 98.
This type of research is more flexible, meaning that it can be applied in qualitative or quantitative research. Comparative research is a comparison of two or more cases studied. Comparison is the result of research that is usually written in the research findings chapter.
Examples of comparative research, for example “Family Welfare Levels in Scandinavian Countries: A Comparison”. Often, comparisons are made not to justify which is better or worse, but rather to enrich references before policies are implemented.
Comparative research is also often used to see which programs are more effective and efficient by considering certain reasons. This study, when done with a quantitative approach is actually similar to cross-sectional research. Meanwhile, if done with a quantitative approach similar to case studies, with the number of cases that occur in two or more in different locations.