Publication Date: May 31, 2019
This popular text, now in its fifth edition, provides step-by-step guidance for new and experienced researchers who want to use interviewing as a research method. This user-friendly guide explains the rationale for interviewing and the complexity of selecting interview participants, important interviewing techniques, and how to work with the results of interviews. Appropriate for individual and classroom use, this expanded edition includes: a revised assessment of the utility of Computer-Assisted Qualitative Data Analysis systems; contributions by Julie Simpson, the Director of Research Integrity Services at the University of New Hampshire, about preparing research for local Institutional Review Boards; and guidance for obtaining informed consent when using technology to interview, when interviewing abroad, and when hoping to include children as participants.
Irving Seidman is professor emeritus at the School of Education, University of Massachusetts Amherst. He offers workshops and short courses and communicates with individual researchers who have questions about the methods described in this book.
“For four editions, readers have turned to Interviewing as Qualitative Research for its practical and straight-forward presentation of a powerful interviewing model. With updated examples, new sections on ethics, and much more, this new edition remains a must-read for any graduate student or experienced researcher interested in the art of qualitative interviewing.”
—Nancy Dana, University of Florida
Praise for Previous Editions!
“A comprehensive perspective of the nature of qualitative inquiry and the art of interviewing.”
—Theory and Research in Social Education
“A good starting point for training new researchers.”
—The Journal of Higher Education
“I have used Seidman's text with great success with graduate students new to qualitative research. Its complex yet readable treatment is an essential part of the toolbox for both novice and experienced qualitative interviewers.”
—Mark R. Warren, associate professor of public policy and public affairs, University of Massachusetts Boston
"This is a thoughtful and well-written introduction to the topic. I assign it in multiple undergraduate and graduate classes I teach. The chapter on interview technique is particularly helpful, giving students useful advice on topics like how to avoid asking leading questions. Highly recommended."
—Amy Bruckman, College of Computing, Georgia Institute of Technology
Introduction: How I Came to Interviewing
Chapter 1. Why Interview?
The Purpose of Interviewing
Interviewing: "The" Method or "A" Method?
Why Not Interview?
Chapter 2. A Structure for In-Depth, Phenomenological Interviewing
What Makes Interviewing Phenomenological and Why Does It Matter?
Phenomenological Theme One: The Temporal and Transitory Nature of Human Experience
Phenomenological Theme Two: Whose Understanding Is It? Subjective Understanding
Phenomenological Theme Three: Lived Experience as the Foundation of "Phenomena"
Phenomenological Theme Four: The Emphasis on Meaning and Meaning in Context
How Do These Phenomenological Themes Matter?
The Three-Interview Series
Respect the Structure
Alternatives to the Structure and Process
Length of Interviews
Spacing of Interviews
Whose Meaning Is It? Validity and Reliability
Experience the Process Yourself
Chapter 3. Proposing Research: From Mind to Paper to Action
Research Proposals as Rites of Passage
From Thought to Language
What Is to Be Done?
Questions to Structure the Proposal
Working with the Material
Piloting Your Work
Chapter 4. Establishing Access to, Making Contact with, and Selecting Participants
The Perils of Easy Access
Access Through Formal Gatekeepers
Access and Hierarchy
Make a Contact Visit in Person
Building the Participant Pool
Some Logistical Considerations
Snares to Avoid in the Selection Process
How Many Participants Are Enough?
Chapter 5. The Path to Institutional Review Boards and Informed Consent
The Belmont Report
The Establishment of Local Institutional Review Boards
The Informed Consent Document
Seven Key Sections of an Informed Consent Document
1. What, How Long, How, to What End, and for Whom?
2. Risks, Discomforts, and Vulnerability
3. The Rights of the Participant
4. Possible Benefits
5. Confidentiality of Records
7. Contact Information and Copies of the Document
Special Conditions for Children
Informed Consent When Using Technology to Interview
Informed Consent When Interviewing Abroad
The Complexities of Affirming the IRB Review Process and Informed Consent
Chapter 6. Technique Isn't Everything, But It Is a Lot
Listen More, Talk Less
Follow Up on What the Participant Says
Listen More, Talk Less, and Ask Real Questions
Follow Up, But Don't Interrupt
Two Favorite Approaches
Ask Participants to Reconstruct, Not to Remember
Keep Participants Focused and Ask for Concrete Details
Do Not Take the Ebbs and Flows of Interviewing Too Personally
Limit Your Own Interaction
Follow Your Hunches
Use an Interview Guide Cautiously
Chapter 7. Interviewing as a Relationship
Interviewing as an "I–Thou" Relationship
Social Group Identities and the Interviewing Relationship
Distinguish Among Private, Personal, and Public Experiences
Avoid a Therapeutic Relationship
Interviewing Online or by Telephone, and the Relationship Between Participant and Interviewer
Chapter 8. Analyzing, Interpreting, and Sharing Interview Material
Managing the Data
Keeping Interviewing and Analysis Separate: What to Do Between Interviews
Studying, Reducing, and Analyzing the Text
Sharing Interview Data: Profiles and Themes
Making and Analyzing Thematic Connections
Interpreting the Material
Computer Assisted Qualitative Data Analysis (CAQDAS)
Cautions Regarding CAQDAS
Chapter 9. The Ethics of Doing Good Work
Doing Good Work
The Reciprocity Implicit in Treating Participants with Dignity
Appendix: Two Profiles
Nanda: A Cambodian Survivor of the Pol Pot Era
Betty: A Long-Time Day Care Provider
About the Author