We learned a lot about interviewing last week. We were assigned to interview someone for class on Friday. I did this and already posted about it. In class on Friday we discussed what we learned from our interviews. We discussed the elements of an ethnographic interview we learned from Spradley:

1. Greetings

2. Giving ethnographic explanations.

3. Asking ethnographic questions.

4. Asymmetrical turn taking

5. Expressing interest

6. Expressing cultural ignorance

7. Repeating.

8. Restating informant’s terms.

9. Incorporating informant’s terms.

10. Creating hypothetical situations.

11. Asking friendly questions.

12. Taking leave.

We each stated what tactics we used. I gave an ethnographic explanation in that I explained my reasoning for interviewing her. I also asked ethnographic questions. I tried to understand the foods she ate and why she ate them. I definitely expressed interest and cultural ignorance. There were many foods I had never heard of and wanted to learn about. She was happy to oblige (to the best of her ability, she mentioned that it was hard to find the right words for the different foods). I restated her terms and incorporated them. There is really no other way to describe what she said, except for using her terms. An example is some of the names of the food, like udong. Some of the food names she made American because she couldn’t think of how else to describe them. I forgot to make hypothetical situations, so I need to work on that. I asked some other questions that don’t pertain to my project and then we talked for a little while more. Then I took my leave so I could get to class.

I decided I have a lot to work on with interviewing. Perhaps the most important is to learn how to build rapport. I already knew A so that wasn’t hard to do. When I’m in the field I’ll need to learn how to approach people and be friendly so that people feel comfortable talking to me. I can also work on giving hypothetical situations. I’m not sure what kinds of hypothetical situations to use. I could ask what they would do if they were somewhere completely foreign and they needed food? And why kinds of foods they would look for. I think I’ll ask some of my classmates for other ideas.

I hope that interview skills come with practice. I plan on practicing more before I leave for the field. I’d hate to look like a fool when I get out there.



One response to “11

  1. Interviewing takes time and a lot of practice, but the more you do them, especially when you are in the field and they are along the same lines, the more natural they will be. You will know what hypothetical situations to ask about, etc.

    Also, I’m glad you mentioned the elements that Spradly talked about! Although I think if you did a hyperlink to the article outside readers would know what you were referring to. But really, having this list will be great in the field. It would be a pain to haul these readings in their print form, but it will be really easy to reference with your blog. 🙂

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