Please note: This course will be delivered in person at the Colchester campus. Online study is not available for this course.
Dr. Katy Wheeler is a Senior Lecturer in Sociology at The University of Essex. She has extensive experience of conducting qualitative interviews, including household interviews, expert interviews, and focus groups. Her research interests are in the fields of sustainability and consumption and she has published widely within leading academic journals and two books, Fair-Trade and the Citizen-Consumer: Shopping for Justice (Palgrave, 2012) and Recycling and Consumption Work: Social and moral economies (Palgrave, 2015). She is currently pursuing a project on sustainability education.
Dr Bethany Morgan Brett is a Research Fellow for My Home Life England at City, University of London. My Home Life England works to promote positive practice and improve the quality of life for those living, visiting and working in care homes and other care settings. Bethany has 15 years’ experience of lecturing in Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies, Sociology, and Social Psychology. Academically, she specialises in the experiences of ageing, social care, therapeutic communication, end of life care, mental health, and grief and bereavement. She worked at the UK Data Archive for nine years, developing expertise in archiving, digitisation, research data management. She is an expert in social care research ethics, particularly the ethics of researching at risk populations. She is also a child and adolescent psychotherapist, registered with the British Psychotherapy Foundation. She has recently published her first monograph The Child-Parent Caregiving Relationship in Later Life: Psychosocial Experiences (Policy Press, 2023)
Bethany and Katy jointly published the textbook ‘How to Do Qualitative Interviewing’ (Sage, 2022)
This intensive one-week course aims to introduce participants to the most widely used qualitative research technique in the social sciences – the interview. The course is intended to systematically guide participants through the research process specific to a qualitative interview project, from research design through to conducting interviews, analysing them and writing up the findings. The course will focus on different types of qualitative interview – including in-depth interviews, psycho-social/sensitive interviews and expert interviews. We reflect on the different techniques at an interviewer’s disposal to encourage participants to share their stories and reflexively discuss how interactions between interviewer and interviewee shape the data that is generated. This is a practical course and participants will gain first-hand experience of conducting and analysing qualitative interviews of different types, as well as critically reflecting upon their own interviewing practice (assumptions and techniques). There will be space for participants to bring their questions about interviews to the course for group discussion.
The course begins with an overview of the key principles and theoretical assumptions underlying the qualitative interview before moving onto the practicalities of setting up an interview research project. Participants are asked to collectively devise an interview guide, test out this guide and then conduct an in-depth interview with another summer school participant. Specific techniques/tools for approaching sensitive topics and dealing with elite interviewees are then considered. Psychosocial interviews are introduced as a special category of qualitative interview and participants can experience this approach through practical exercises. Using the qualitative data analysis software MAXQDA, we introduce techniques for analysing interview data before we conclude the course with top tips on writing up interview research.
The aim of this course is to equip participants with the skills and confidence to conduct their own research projects using qualitative interviews. The course is introductory so it is well-suited for participants who are at the beginning of their research, but it will also appeal to those who are already using qualitative interviews and are seeking to deepen their knowledge and skills (perhaps in terms of how to ask the right questions and deal with difficult or sensitive topics/participants). By the end of the course, participants should understand the principles behind and practicalities of doing a research project based on qualitative interviews.
No prior knowledge or experience of qualitative interviewing is assumed.
Required text – this text will be provided by ESS:
Morgan Brett, B & Wheeler, K (2020) How to do Qualitative Interviewing, London: Sage