Is art or science more dominant?

Topics: Interview, Emotion, Skills Pages: 10 (2548 words) Published: September 10, 2014

Assignment 1: Essay

Due Date: 2nd September 2013, 11:59pm

Myra Custer

Word Count: 2, 462



Most sociologists would probably acknowledge that indepth interviewing is both an “art” and a “”science”. But which of these is the most dominant?
Interviewing is rather like a marriage: Everybody knows what it is, an awful lot of people do it, and yet behind each closed front door there is a world of secrets. (Oakley 2009, p.93)

In-depth interviewing is a delicate and lengthy process in which qualitative researchers explore individual’s experiences, feelings, and the world and society in which they live, through talking and understanding an individual. An in-depth interview is usually a face-to-face occurrence with one-on-one interaction between a researcher and a participant, which aims to extract information from an individual, from their own perspective. An in-depth interview ‘is to explore the “insider perspective”. To capture, in the participants’ own words, their thoughts, perceptions, feelings and experiences.’ (Taylor. 2005, p.39). Not only must the researcher understand the participants’ perspective, he must also see the word through the participants’ point of view. With this ability and the opportunity to hear from a participant in his own words, a researcher then has the capability to conduct a more complex and accurate analysis with this data.

Some key characteristics that are used in an in-depth interview include, 1) Open-ended questions,
2) Semi-structured format,
3) Seek understanding and interpretation,
4) Recording responses.
Open-ended questions are a question that begins with “how” or “why” to avoid the answers “yes” or “no”. This gives the participant the freedom to respond to the question with their own opinions and their own words.

Semi-structured format are pre-planned questions which sound also be conversational- for example the interviewer may state “There are many road



works lately, how do you feel about the delays cause by the road works?” This is a statement, followed by a question.
Seek Understanding and Interpretation comes from active and affective listening skills- by using active and affective listening skills the interviewer may have a stronger understanding throughout the interview.

Recording Responses are audio-recorded interviews, which are accompanied by written notes written by the interviewer of verbal and non-verbal behaviors as they occur during the interview. Also, many methods, which aim to achieve a more detailed response from a participant, are used throughout an in-depth interview.

A method such as the Postmodern approach, which has much more dialogue in its approach and is focused on a shared understanding and experience between the interviewer and the participant. Another method used in in-depth interviewing is closely associated with feminist research. This method refers to ‘a female style of knowing’ and ‘the standpoint of women’. Esterberg (2002) suggests that ‘women have been made silent. Most women have not had must opportunity to tell their stories, but the nature of in-depth interviewing allows them to do so.’

There are many different strategies and methods used in in-depth interviewing, although keep in mind that, Liamputtong (2013, 52) states ‘conducting a good in-depth interview requires a lot more than knowing how to ask questions and talk to people. There are many salient accurate information from the research participants.’

Most sociologists would probably acknowledge that in-depth interviewing is both an “art” and a “”science”. In-depth interviewing as an art and a science is a very interesting topic. In-depth interviewing is definitely both and art AND a science, but which of these is most dominant? Is it more an art? Or, more a science?

In-depth interviewing as an art explores how an interviewer must have particular skills or a natural skill to achieve a successful in-depth interview,...

References: Liamputtong, Pranee. 2013. Qualitative Research Methods. South Melbourne,
VIC: Oxford University Press.
Rosenblum, E. Karen. 1987. The in-depth interview: Between science and
Ravitz, Jessica. 2010. “Tips to master the art of interviewing.” iReport
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