In class on Monday we discussed interviewing. Our readings also discussed interviewing. When I first think of interviewing, I think of two people sitting down and one of them asking the other a list of questions to which they would like answers. I learned in class that this would be considered a more formal interview. There are other, less formal interviews as well. These consist of two people having a conversation about the topic the researcher needs information on.

I like this idea of an informal interview. It seems more relaxed and open to ideas. I would be worried with a formal interview that it would be too structured and the informant would not feel open to discuss other topics that may be related to my topic.

In class, we also discussed ways to get as much information as we can out of our informant. This may sound odd, but there are ways, such as probing. Bernard talks a lot about probing and gives many examples. Probing focuses on different phrases or even silence that can lead your informant to speaking more. This include the echo probe, uh-huh probe, the silent probe, and the tell-me-more probe. All of these take practice to get the hang of, but can be very useful.

I’m going to need a lot of practice with interviewing before I get to the field. I need to work on which kind of interviewing I’d like to use and make a list of questions (my method). I can practice these questions on friends and roommates to see how they sound and if they seem answerable. I’m also going to need to learn more about the culture of Tibetans so that I know which social cues I need to pick up on so I don’t offend anyone. My method is subject to change, but I still need to make one that is workable.


2 responses to “10

  1. I also think it will be good to get in a lot of practice for interviewing! I’m excited to try it out! I’ve done interviews before, but not with a lot of instruction on how to do them, so I was really glad to be able to learn a little more. Though, practice is probably the best teacher. πŸ™‚

  2. Interviewing is SO important to practice! I second Elizabeth. I also think a great way to get a good feel of what an interview would be like is to go out and talk to someone completely random. Maybe try a first date or the guy sitting next to you on the bus. I also think informal to semi formal interviews are great because they allow you to get information that you might not have received during a more structured format. The others are viable, but informal is always better for me personally. You’ll just have to decide what works for you and what kind of data you want for your project. πŸ™‚

    Also, what did you think of the Spradley article about the different kinds of ethnographic questions? That is one of the best readings I think we do in the prep class.

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