I gather interview data through face-to-face meetings, phone conversations, or electronic communication such as e-mail. Interview protocols are written or outlined in advance, and I may ask probing questions as a follow-up to the general questions.
To ensure the authenticity of the data collected during an interview, I work to develop a trust relationship with the participant. Interviews generally begin with demographic questions, and progress to more difficult or personal questions.
I tape record interview and later transcribed them verbatim. To improve the reliability of the data, I repeat the interview with several respondents. I then send a written summary of the interview to the people who were interviewed, so they can verify that the summaries accurately and completely reflect what was said and intended during the interview. After the interview summaries are reviewed by the participants, I analyze the data to find themes.
Interview data, like focus group data, is used to answer questions of “Why?” as well as “What?”. Interview data is also useful for preparing questions for surveys, because they can provide a wide range of possible selections for multiple choice items.