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Mastering the Semi-Structured Interview and Beyond

Mastering the Semi-Structured Interview and Beyond: From Research Design to Analysis and Publication

Anne Galletta
Copyright Date: 2013
Published by: NYU Press
Pages: 258
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  • Book Info
    Mastering the Semi-Structured Interview and Beyond
    Book Description:

    Mastering the Semi-Structured Interview and Beyondoffers an in-depth and captivating step-by-step guide to the use of semi-structured interviews in qualitative research. By tracing the life of an actual research project-an exploration of a school district's effort over 40 years to address racial equality-as a consistent example threaded across the volume, Anne Galletta shows in concrete terms how readers can approach the planning and execution of their own new research endeavor, and illuminates unexpected real-life challenges they may confront and how to address them.The volume offers a close look at the inductive nature of qualitative research, the use of researcher reflexivity, and the systematic and iterative steps involved in data collection, analysis, and interpretation. It offers guidance on how to develop an interview protocol, including the arrangement of questions and ways to evoke analytically rich data.Particularly useful for those who may be familiar with qualitative research but have not yet conducted a qualitative study,Mastering the Semi-Structured Interview and Beyondwill serve both undergraduate and graduate students as well as more advanced scholars seeking to incorporate this key methodological approach into their repertoire.Anne Gallettais Associate Professor at the College of Education and Human Services at Cleveland State University.William E. Cross, the author of Shades of Black: Diversity in African-American Identity.In theQualitative Studies in Psychologyseries

    eISBN: 978-0-8147-3295-3
    Subjects: Psychology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-x)

    With this book, scholars and students who embrace qualitative research methods to excavate new knowledge are introduced to the semi-structured interview. Anne Galletta shows the novice how to break down the interview gestalt into its constituent parts, and then reintegrate the material into a theoretically rich and empirically strong narrative.

    Here in one succinct and readable volume, the author discusses (1) the role and importance of qualitative methods in contemporary research, (2) the centrality of semi-structured interviewing to qualitative research, and (3) the critical steps required for the competent and masterful application of the semi-structured interview.

    In this book the...

    (pp. xi-xiv)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 1-6)

    This book is written for budding social scientists and those more advanced scholars interested in developing or fine-tuning their skills in qualitative research. It is crafted to take you out of the realm of the abstract and engage you in a sustained way in the twists and turns of conceptualizing and carrying out a qualitative research project. This text addresses planning a research design, conducting data collection and analysis, synthesizing and interpreting research themes, and writing up research results. Slices of a completed research project are inserted within this book to illustrate key dimensions of qualitative research in a concrete...


    • 1 Crafting a Design to Yield a Complete Story
      (pp. 9-44)

      In this chapter, I will lead you through the process of craft ing a research design to respond fully to your topic of interest. We’ll address the role of building on extant literature and its influence in shaping your research question, methods, and analytical framework. Here, I give special attention to the selection of methods of data collection, particularly the use of semi-structured interviews. I also illustrate how semistructured interviews allow for the exploration of lived experience as narrated in the interview in relation to theoretical variables of interest. In concert with archival study and oral histories, the semi-structured interview...

    • 2 The Semi-Structured Interview as a Repertoire of Possibilities
      (pp. 45-72)

      The semi-structured interview, valued for its accommodation to a range of research goals, typically reflects variation in its use of questions, prompts, and accompanying tools and resources to draw the participant more fully into the topic under study. Semi-structured interviews incorporate both open-ended and more theoretically driven questions, eliciting data grounded in the experience of the participant as well as data guided by existing constructs in the particular discipline within which one is conducting research. Formulating questions and ordering them requires considerable time and trial and error through the field-testing of the protocol, which is the set of questions guiding...


    • 3 Conducting the Interview: The Role of Reciprocity and Reflexivity
      (pp. 75-118)

      Central to this chapter is an exploration of the ways in which you might conduct a semi-structured interview in a manner that is productive for both you and the participant. A common thread across qualitative research and its diversity of interpretive paradigms is attention to the role of the researcher. This is particularly true when the semi-structured interview is used as a data-collection method. Here, it is fundamental to reflect and act upon the nature of the exchange between the researcher and participant. You may prompt the participant, rephrase questions, and make changes according to the interview situation. In this...

    • 4 Ongoing and Iterative Data Analysis
      (pp. 119-146)

      In qualitative research, data analysis occurs alongside data collection. In this way the analysis is ongoing, as you note thematic patterns emerging in the data. Data analysis is also iterative, requiring you to return frequently to your data for further study in order to ensure meaning. With each loop back, you become further steeped in the data. With interview data, this absorption may be likened to the depth of engagement between the participant and researcher during the interview. Now these individuals are no longer physically before you. However, their experience and angle of vision are present in the data as...


    • 5 Building Theory
      (pp. 149-172)

      Like other phases of a qualitative design, the shift from analyzing to synthesizing thematic patterns is iterative and cumulative. Th e process of looping back through data collection and analysis begins to ease up as the constitutive analytical threads are secured in place. While some threads might still need reconnecting, or removal, there develops a gradual sense of having exhausted thematic possibilities at the level of coding and clustering codes into categories related to the research question. There is a bit of winnowing, too, as some thematic codes and clusters are placed on hold for later exploration.

      In this chapter...

    • 6 Writing Up and Speaking Back to the Literature
      (pp. 173-190)

      In carrying out a qualitative research project, you have been writing for quite some time. Through writing, you followed up on the interviewing experience, noting particular ideas or questions that were evident to you upon completing an interview. Writing offered a tool for reflexivity through which you could look back on decisions made during your research and consider implications for the direction of the research. As thematic patterns emerged, writing supported your articulation of meaning and furthered your interpretation. Each step of the way, you relied on writing as a means of reflecting back and moving forward in terms of...

  9. Afterword: Loose Threads
    (pp. 191-194)

    This aim of this book was to invite you to consider the possibilities that are available to you in conducting qualitative research. I emphasized the inductive nature of qualitative research, the use of reciprocity and reflexivity, and the systematic and iterative steps involving data collection, analysis, and interpretation. The semi-structured interview is a qualitative research method that is frequently underestimated in the social sciences. The versatility and strength of this method can allow for an exploration of specific dimensions of your research question. The semi-structured interview is instrumental in creating openings for a narrative to unfold, while also including questions...

  10. Appendix A: Sample Protocol for Student Participants
    (pp. 195-202)
  11. Appendix B: Past as Present, Present as Past: Historicizing Black Education and Interrogating “Integration”
    (pp. 203-230)
  12. NOTES
    (pp. 231-234)
    (pp. 235-240)
  14. INDEX
    (pp. 241-244)
    (pp. 245-245)