Colchester, United Kingdom

Interviews as Method of Data Collection in Times of Polarisation

online course
when 5 February 2024 - 9 February 2024
language English
duration 1 week
credits 4 EC
fee GBP 492

"Gain a deep understanding of interviewing as a data collection method by developing your skills in designing interview protocols, dealing with the practicalities of conducting interviews, managing personal interactions and strengthening reflexivity.

Need to know
Any prior knowledge of research design and methods is an asset, but not required.

You are expected to conduct approx. 3 hours of preparatory work for each session, which includes readings, pre-recorded videos and practical assignments.

If you have interview experience, you will be asked to describe a scenario of an unexpected and/or uncomfortable event that happened while interviewing.

You will be expected to practice interviewing and conduct a semi-structured interview with a family member, friend or colleague as part of the course.

In depth
Day 1: Interviewing as Data Collection Method
When is interviewing as data collection method appropriate in political science research? What are the different methodological approaches to interviewing and what are the strengths and weaknesses of interview data, in particular for experts and elite interviews? You will learn about how to identify your interviewees, different sampling strategies, how to recruit interviewees and the best mode to conduct these interviews. You will have the opportunity to join in group reflection on the ethical considerations of conducting interviews, such as anonymity, confidentiality, data security, withdrawal, debriefing, informed consent, vulnerable interviewees, and distressing topics.

Day 2: Preparing your Interviews
The quality of the data yielded is strongly dependent on your preparation, the structure of your interview protocol and the questions asked at the various interview stages. This session will focus on interview protocols, question development, the use of stimulus material and pre-testing and subsequently revising your interview protocol, questions and stimulus material. Time will be allocated to discuss the challenges of collecting data in multilingual and multicultural settings.

Day 3: Preparing and Conducting Interviews
In this session, you will deepen your knowledge of interactions between the interviewer and the interviewee and the importance of reflexivity. What is professional behaviour for an interviewer? How does the interviewer create trust and conversational flow? What power, culture and gender dynamics are potentially at play? How can we limit social desirability and confirmation bias in data generation?

Day 4: Conducting and Transcribing Interviews
This session will focus on interviews about sensitive topics and interviews in polarised contexts, such as societies and groups divided by political conflict and heightened (partisan) identities. How do you deal with the emotions of the interviewee and your own emotions as interviewer? You will also acquire knowledge of strategies for dealing with unanticipated events and challenges to the overall data collection (when conducting elite interviews).

Day 5: Analysing and Safeguarding the Quality of Interview Data.
When have you collected enough data? What can you do with your data? You will have the opportunity to discuss different methods of analysing interview data, inductive, and deductive analysis strategies, such as thematic content analysis and conversational analysis alongside the rest of the group. In addition, time will be freed up to touch upon the importance of cross-referencing and conducting validity and reliability checks and risks of misunderstanding and under-theorisation of data.

How the course will work online
The course combines asynchronous pre-class assignments, such as readings and pre-recorded videos, along with daily live online sessions. In these sessions, short, focussed discussions will take place on the preparatory readings and pre-recorded videos, conduct and discuss (group) assignments. As part of the course, you will analyse transcripts and recordings of (elite) interviews conducted by other scholars, engage in role-playing and conduct your own interview(s), the latter will be with non-elites. You will be able to book one-to-one consultations with the instructor, over the duration of the course."

Course leader

Annemarie Walter, Assistant Professor at the University of Nottingham, researches parties’ campaign strategies, elite (moral) decision-making, misperceptions and conspiracy beliefs and voters’ responses to politicians’ transgressions.

Target group

Advanced students, researchers, and professional analysts.

Course aim

"To gain an in-depth understanding of interviewing as a data collection method in political science research. You will develop your skills through practical experience in designing and conducting interviews, to introduce approaches to interview data management and analysis and stimulate methodological refection.
The course focuses on one-on-one, expert and elite interviews. It is appropriate for researchers wishing to use interviewing as stand-alone data collection method or as part of a mixed method approach.
By the end of this course, you will be able to:
• know when to make use of interviewing as a data collection method;
• design your interview study and defend your methodological choices;
• independently prepare and conduct interviews;
• maximize the data generated through conducting interviews;
• have basic knowledge on how to analyse interview data;
• report your interview data appropriately."

Credits info

4 EC
"You can earn up to four credits for attending this course.
3 ECTS credits – Attend 100% of live sessions and engage fully with class activities.
4 ECTS credits – Attend 100% of live sessions, engage fully with class activities and complete a post-class assignment."

Fee info

GBP 492: ECPR Member - check if your institution is a member on our website.
GBP 985: ECPR Non-Member


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