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Designing, Conducting, and Reflecting on a Qualitative Interview
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research methods
qualitative methods

How to Cite

Sullivan, Rachel. 2018. “Designing, Conducting, and Reflecting on a Qualitative Interview”. TRAILS: Teaching Resources and Innovations Library for Sociology, July. Washington DC: American Sociological Association.


This is a two-part interview assignment that can be used when teaching a qualitative methods unit in a research methods class. Students can choose to take either a life history approach with this assignment (by interviewing an older relative) or a more career-focused informational approach (by interviewing alumni or current employees in a field that they...

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Subject Area(s):
Research Methods
Resource Type(s):
Class Level(s):
College 200
Class Size(s):

Usage Notes

I typically cover interview based research in 2-3 class periods. In the first class period, I distribute the requirements of this assignment, we discuss the strengths and weaknesses of interview based research, and we look at sample interview questions. Students then use remaining class time to brainstorm sample interview questions, and I give them the...

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Learning Goals and Assessments

Learning Goal(s):

  1. Students are able to craft an interview guide that contains questions that align with the goal of their interview.
  2. Students are able to explain through writing why the data gained in interviews can be sociologically significant.
  3. Students are able to recognize and describe how their background characteristics can impact the answers provided in an interview.

Goal Assessment(s):

  1. Students submit a semi-structured interview guide. In their reflection, they discuss which questions worked, which didn’t, and which should be added, subtracted, or edited.
  2. In their reflection, students summarize the main findings of their interview, and answer the question: "Why might another sociologist be interested in studying this?"
  3. In their reflection, students describe whether they think their background or prior interactions with their interviewee could have impacted the responses and rapport established in the interview.

When using resources from TRAILS, please include a clear and legible citation.

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