Interviewing is a popular and well-established method in social science research. It is a varied and flexible approach that can be used alone, or together with other approaches to investigate a wide variety of topics related to the study of the Internet.
However, carrying out high quality interview studies requires a complex set of skills and knowledge that are often underestimated. Furthermore, the use of new technologies at all stages of the research process have extended the reach and possibilities to conduct interviews in varied ways and on different populations, but these opportunities (and challenges) need careful consideration.
This course will:
- explore the philosophical bases of digital research interviews
- review different types of interviews available to researchers both on and offline
- investigate the new opportunities and challenges the Internet offers researchers wishing to carry out interviews
- determine how best to plan and execute an interview for a range of different populations including those that are difficult to reach (with a focus on issues such as sampling, saturation, the nature of questions, rapport)
- discuss “difficult” interviews and ethics of digital interviewing; and
- examine how best to ensure quality in research interviews.
Outcomes: This course is designed to encourage students to develop a critical stance to their own research practice and the work of others. Alongside conceptual and theoretical discussions in class, students will be obtaining hands-on practice gathering qualitative data, particularly using digitally-mediated methods. At the end of the course students will: Understand the epistemological underpinnings of digital research interviews; Apply a critical and theoretically informed approach to all stages of the interview process for a range of research topics with different populations; Acquire interviewing skills in a range of online and offline settings; Understand the ethical issues and potential challenges that may emerge when conducting digital interviews and how these can be addressed.