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Qualitative Interviewing: Style, Philosophy and Frameworks Report (Assessment)


Introduction

Interviews play a critical role in assessing other people’s experiences, motives, feeling, day-to-day routines, or even verifying answers to various questions. They also facilitate acquiring of information on a wider perspective due to the close relationship developed with the client, which is derived from the use flexible approaches while dealing with clients. Much of a student’s life is normally spent on increasing skills for passing exams, planning for college, and acquiring skills for job market.

However, this cannot be achieved without incorporating it with an assessment of their social life, as it solves students’ problems such as abuse of drugs and alcohol, suicide, as well as sexual abuse, among others. This paper will look into two interviews based on being a student and analyze the style, philosophy, and the frameworks used. The study will seek to develop an understanding of the frameworks that are important for interviewers in acquiring the feelings, motives, and experiences of the students. The interviews will be transcribed and then analysed in a reflective form.

Interview A

Interviewer: “Do you abuse drugs?”

Person A: “What do you mean by the term ‘abuse drugs’?”

Interviewer: “The term ‘abuse drugs’ means using any kind of drugs while you are below the age of 18 year. To rephrase this question, do you use alcohol or legalized as well as illegalized drugs such as marijuana and cocaine?”

Person A: “Yes, I usually use such substances twice per week”.

Interviewer: “What motivates you as a student?”

Person A: “I am normally motivated by the fact that a good student acquires working skills for future life”.

Interviewer: “What is the most challenging thing in high school education?”

Person A: “I think social life is more challenging than education”.

Interviewer: “Do you engage in sexual activities?”

Person A: “Is it wrong?”

Interviewer: “It is not wrong”.

Person A: “Ok, sometimes I do”.

Interviewer: “How do spend your leisure time?”

Student A: “I usually spend my leisure time with my peers and friends in the streets of my neighborhood city”.

Interviewer: “Without mentioning anyone’s name, do you know any student who encourages sex, alcohol, or drug abuse?”

Person A: “Yes, I do”.

Interviewer: “What are some of the steps you would take to reduce sex, alcohol, or drug abuse among the students?”

Person A: “I would request the local government to create recreational facilitates that would facilitate eradication of these behaviours”.

Interviewer: “If you saw some students engaging in sex or alcohol and drug abuse, would you report them to the school administration?”

Person A: “No, I would not make an effort of reporting them”.

Interviewer: “Do your parents know how you spend your leisure time?”

Person A: “No, my parents do not care about how I spend my leisure time”.

Interviewer: “Have your parents informed you the consequences of a student using drugs?”

Person A: “No my parents do not even know whether I use drugs or not”.

Interviewer: “Do your parents take drugs or alcohol?”

Person A: “No, I have never seen them taking alcohol or drugs”.

Interviewer: “As a student, what environmental factors do you think promote the use of alcohol and drugs amongst students?”

Person A: “A number of environmental factors, including advertisements through the media, promote such behaviours amongst the students”.

Interviewer: “Do you believe that the current schools design moral programs that are in line with students’ needs?”

Person A: No, I do not think so.

Interviewer: “What steps do you think schools should take while creating a students’ moral program?”

Person A: “That is a hard question, and can only be answered by a program facilitator”.

Interviewer: “Ok, to rephrase the question, do you think the school should include students’ representatives while coming up with a students’ moral code?”

Person A: “Yes, the schools’ administrations should take the initiative of including students’ representatives to air the diverse views of the students and issues facing them in their day-to-day lives”.

Interviewer: “Do you believe all students would adhere to moral codes if they were given a chance to be part of building the students’ moral program?”

Person A: “despite being given a chance, I do not believe that all students would adhere to the students’ moral codes”.

Interviewer: “As a student, does the philosophical view of moral education influence your character?”

Person A: “What do you mean by ‘philosophical view of moral education’?”

Interviewer: “The philosophical view of moral education for students emphasizes on the kind of honesty that promotes integrity, making the students to accept responsibilities”. Interviewer: “To rephrase this question, is there any slogan that the school uses to discourage you from engaging in sex, drugs, as well as alcohol abuse?”

Person A: “No, the philosophical view of moral education does not influence my behavior because it is based on principles that do not take due consideration of students’ needs, making it unworthy to the life of a student”.

Interviewer: “Do you acknowledge the community social workers with regard to meeting the needs of the students?”

Person A:” What type of needs?”

Interviewer: “I mean the social needs of students. Do the community social workers understand the felt needs of students?”

Person A: “The community social workers do not understand the felt needs of students; however, they encourage openness with all the students, hence creating a sense of trust between the students and the community”.

Interviewer: “Do the community social groups interact well with the students?”

Person A: “Though the community social groups tend to associate with all the students, they portray an attitude that tries to seclude students who are victims of drugs addiction from students who do not abuse drugs or alcohol”.

Reflection

What Worked Well In the Interview

The respondent interviewed in this first part of the interview process is a high school student. Beforehand, I had a feeling that the student would reject being interviewed, as I had not done enough preparations. According to Boeije (2010: 53), adequate preparation for carrying out a qualitative interview involves gathering empirical data from interview literature, and then coming up with an analysis that is goal comparative.

However, one of the things that worked well is the fact that the interview was based on acquiring information on day-to-day routine of the student, and this made the respondent to answer all my questions. I started the interview session by outlining the ultimate goal of the research: factors that affect student’s performance. I then explained the scope and the process involved in the interview before I received full attention from my interviewee. Consequently, I got an opportunity of advancing into diverse questions, which assessed the life of being a student, even though the first question was not posed appropriately.

Additionally, I managed to ask the other questions successfully by encouraging the respondent to reflect on himself while answering them. This was imperative since personal reflection does not only help to advance conversation, but it is also beneficial to the respondent because it facilitates stimulation of emotions (Winstanley 2005:111). The third question, which was based on performance, aimed at ascertaining the fact that my interviewee, who is a student, is not only faced with academic challenges in school but also social life, leading to behavioral changes that, in turn, affect educational performance.

Furthermore, I sought to increase the validity of the interview questions by borrowing from theory of personal development, which points out that as humans grow, engagement in social interactions necessitate reflecting on feelings and thoughts, thus leading to development of personality. This fondness towards a particular personality is shaped by observation of behavior, its imitation, and reinforcement, which ultimately define personality (L’abate & Bryson 1994: 225). And as such, I had to interview my respondent on matters pertaining to his parents’ behavior and other environmental factors in a bid to know whether his ill behaviours were acquired from imitating parents, peers, or other environmental factors.

What Did Not Work Well At All

Despite all these efforts, there is one prime thing that did not work: the interview process did not facilitate achievement of the interview’s goal, as I was not in a position of acquiring in depth qualitative data, making it hard to assess the thoughts and emotions of my interviewee in a comprehensive manner. What makes it worse is that I was not in a position of identifying the distorted thinking that caused emotional discomfort in the life of my interviewee.

This was attributed to how the questions were framed. The first question shows that I approached the interview session with an interview framework known as ‘interviewer as potential critic’ (Reis & Judd 2000: 301). This is portrayed by the fact that my interviewee had declined to answer my first question, and even though he eventually answered all the questions, his responses were in a short answer form and characterized by return questions, which were also critical. This framework, according to (Reis & Judd 2000: 302), is not recommended; but it can be used when the interviewer is seeking for theories of interviews.

The answers provided by my interviewee, however, helped me to identify the areas that call for change in order to facilitate an effective and efficient interview process. It came to my attention that interviewing students using ‘interviewer as potential critique’ framework creates one major challenge: the capacity of biasing the responses of the interviewee. As a result, I had to gather for other interview frameworks that would serve to improve the interview exercise. The most viable frameworks that were identified include ‘expert outside field’ framework and ‘interviewer as confederate’ framework (Wengraf 2001: 81).

What Needs To Be Changed In the Interview, If Given the Chance

After this session, I felt that I had not achieved much from my interviewee although I gained a positive attitude towards interviews. And if given a chance, I feel I should carry out another interview with a different person, but based on the same topic, in a bid to obtain more qualitative information from my interviewee. This interview, however, should use a viable theoretical framework, which would facilitate change, especially on how the questions are phrased and posed, and it should also use the word “why” and “how” appropriately in order to facilitate acquisition of qualitative data in a comprehensive manner.

Interview B

Interviewer: “As a student, you look motivated. Why is it so?”

Person B: “I am motivated by the fact that I am able to learn diverse skills that would help me at this particular time as well as in future”.

Interviewer: “High school students are normally faced with a number of challenges. How do you contend with such challenges?”

Person B: “The most challenging thing in high school is the influence from peer pressure, and I normally contend with it by relating the enticing habits with their dire consequences”.

Interviewer: “Do you mean that there is a danger in using drugs, alcohol, or any other prohibited substance for a person less than 18 years?”

Person A: “Yes, and I would not use such substances because their consequences outweigh their benefits”.

Interviewer: “And for what reason would someone in high school engage in sexual activities?”

Person B: “This could be attributed to lack of counseling that would help educate them on the correlation between actions and consequences. The habit escalates due to peer pressure”.

Interviewer: “Without mentioning anyone’s name, do you know any student who encourages sex, alcohol, or drug abuse in the school’s vicinity? And, if so, would you report her to the school’s administration?”

Person B: “I know several students; but reporting students to the administration is difficult for me since they are my close friend”.

Interviewer: “Why would you fear to loose friends who promote sexual activities, drug use, as well as abuse in the school vicinity?”

Person B: “I fear being rejected by my other friends because they might judge me as a traitor, and hence loose my social standing”.

Interviewer: “Is it practical for a student to set specific time for leisure and why is it so?”

Person B: “Yes, of course, because leisure time helps to relax the body as well as the mind, and this, in turn, facilitates academic achievement”.

Interviewer: “Do you think that the current schools design moral programs that are in line with the needs of the students?”

Person B: “No, because a school’s moral program should serve the role of strengthening students; therefore, specific goals should be written down in a manner that clearly indicates the aim of the selected goals”.

Interviewer: “Do you think schools should take additional steps while coming up with a student’s moral program?”

Person B: “Yes, a credible students’ moral program should be based on assessing students’ needs, since the school gets into a position of creating a favorable environment for the students. Students’ needs assessment helps to eradicate a number of inadequacies such as school drop out resulting from sex and drug abuse. For this reason, the schools’ administrations should take additional step, including engaging the students representative in structuring student’s moral code”.

Interviewer: “Do you think that all students would adhere to moral codes if they were given a chance to be part of building the moral program?”

Person B: “Though many students would respond positively, I do not think that all students would adhere to moral codes because some students are obliged to disobey the stipulated rules, as they like portraying that they are mature enough, and therefore do not need to be dictated on what they should do as well as what they should not do”.

Interviewer: “To what extent do you think that the philosophical view of moral education influence your character and why is it so?”

Person B: “The philosophical view of moral education does not significantly motivate me because, even though it articulates the consequences of failing to adhere to students’ moral code, it does not address the rationale behind obeying the outlined students’ responsibilities such as trust and fairness”.

Interviewer: “Why do environmental factors influence students’ behaviors, and which environmental factor contributes greatly to encouraging sex and drug abuse?”

Person B: There are quite a number of environmental factors playing part in promoting sex and drug abuse, with advertisement through the media playing the key role. Therefore, students’ behaviors would significantly change if they were surrounded by environmental factors that oppose sexual and drug abuse, simply because the lives of students who lack self-awareness are characterized by imitating what they observe.

Interviewer: “Why do you think many students do not visit the community’s recreational center?”

Person B: “The low turn out rate is attributed to inadequate recreational facilities, since the local government is not keen on improving the vicinity”.

Interviewer: “And do you acknowledge the community social workers with regard to meeting the needs of the students?”

Person B: “Yes, though slightly, I do acknowledge that the community social workers play a crucial role in meeting the students’ needs. The slight contribution is facilitated by the fact that the community social workers welcome the students wholeheartedly, accept their language, and develop a collaborative alliance with their parents and their teachers, thus creating cohesion within the entire community”.

Interviewer: “What reason would make you think that the community social groups do not interact well with all the students? “

Person A: “A student’s motivation is greatly affected by their perception of how competent he/she is in all areas of life. Hence, the life of being a student is characterized by unhealthy competition that arises among the students, which makes some to develop a feeling of non-achievement. In this regard, the community social groups do not interact well with the students because they fail to create an environment that eliminates conflicts between the students who engage in drug abuse and students who do not engage in drug abuse”.

Interviewer: “Do your parents inform you the consequences of a student using drugs?”

Person B: “Yes, they inform me because they are concerned not only with my educational performance but also character performance”.

Reflection

What Worked Well In the Interview

In this interview, the respondent is also a high school student, and this triggered prior preparation to extend that I had defined a viable framework for the interview. The formulation of the framework was facilitated by understanding that a qualitative interview should evaluate the subjective goal by using the words “why” and “how” instead of relying on objective past experiences of the interviewee, which do not validate the reason behind the question posed (Hammell et al.: 2000). More so, using the words “why” and “how” in a qualitative interview helped me to understand my respondent point of view; thus, I was able to highlight her actual behaviors as well as her ideal behavior as a student by listening reflectively from her responses.

Unlike the first interview that borrowed from personal development to assess whether the student imitated drug and alcohol addition from his parents or peers, this interview borrows from philosophical view that states that effective interviews should be carried out in a manner that facilitates self-exploration (Hinton & Loyola University Chicago 2008:10). As a result, my respondent increased her level of self-understanding and self-awareness, which was facilitated by using “why” and “how”, as these words helped in airing her personal opinion.

Additionally, the fact that this interview exercise was based on ‘interactive types’ framework, the interview was characterized by a high degree of interaction following the question posed. Questions were asked in a dialogue form, and thus necessitated the need for familiarising myself with the language of assessment. In turn, this facilitated a very high discussion forum that was characterized by generation of in-depth information. More so, the discussion, according to (Maykut & Morehouse 2003: 82), was successful since it facilitated an explicit explanation of the student‘s motives, her routines, as well as her implicit beliefs concerning her life as a student.

What Did Not Work At All

Despite the fact that the interview was able to acquire comprehensive qualitative information, it was not able to assess the intellectual and the spiritual needs of the student, since interviews involving such areas are often procedural and consume a lot of time for the interview process, and more so, the interview process had to stick to the identified framework. The intellectual and spiritual areas are crucial in identifying a student’s life, as they seek to judge their motives as well as implicit beliefs (Maykut & Morehouse 2003: 84).

However, I made an effort of controlling the responses of my interviewee whenever she attempted to get out of the specified framework. And even though the interview session was able to acquire in depth information, it was not able to acquire all information relative to student’s motives, implicit beliefs, as well as factors that affect her routine.

What Was Changed From One Interview to the Next, And How That Worked

The interview, though, achieved its ultimate goal because there were a number of significant changes in the entire interview process. This is evident in the structure of the question posed to the respondent, as well as the sequence in the questionnaire. This sequence emanates from the fact that the core objective of a student is attaining a course education, since much of the time is spent in increasing the students’ ability to pass their examinations in a bid to acquire skills for job market.

Besides education, getting a clear knowledge of other students’ requirements serves a critical role in creating a safer environment that is conducive for successful learning, and this prevents failures of achievement resulting from irresponsible behavior.

It is for this reason that the interview followed the sequence of assessing the student’s academic sphere, then the role of the community in the student’s life, since students are part of the community, and therefore the interview should give room for assessing the role of the community towards performance improvement of the student. The role of parents, on the other hand, was assessed because parents may contribute either positively or negatively to the success of a student. Therefore, the change of sequence made a significant achievement of the interview’s objective, as it assessed the student’s life in relation to the school, the community, and, finally, the parents.

What Needs To Be Changed In Carrying Out Future Interviews

Interviews are normally faced with a number of challenges, including the capacity to bias the responses of the interviewee, making interviewing process to become a challenging task. For this reason, interviewers should first assess the interviewee’s lifestyle and then design a conceptual framework for interviewing, which should highly depend on the interviewee’s lifestyle, and then come up with a philosophical view that enhances the relation of the client with the framework used.

In future, though, the interviewers would like to adopt an interview style that takes into account that prior preparation is paramount for an interview to achieve its objectives. This can be achieved by outlining the main goal of the interview , refraining from neutral position while handling qualitative interview, and holding a dialogue with the interviewee by sharing opinions, insight, as well as knowledge on the topic at hand, as this would facilitate the interviewees interest (Maykut & Morehouse 2003: 87).

List of References

Boeije, H. 2010. Analysis in qualitative research. Los Angeles, SAGE.

Hammell, K., Carpenter, C., & Dyck, I. 2000. Using qualitative research: a practical introduction for occupational and physical therapist. Edinburgh, Churchill Livingstone.

Hinton, L., & Loyola University Chicago. 2008. The role of leader self-awareness in building trust and improving student learning. Bethesda, MD, ProQuest.

L’abate, L., & Bryson, C. 1994. A theory of personality development. New York, Wiley.

Maykut, P. S., & Morehouse, R. 2003. Beginning qualitative research: a philosophic and practical guide. New York, RoutledgeFalmer.

Reis, H. T., & Judd, C. M. 2000. Handbook of research methods in social and personality psychology. New York, Cambridge University Press.

Wengraf, T. 2001. Qualitative research interviewing: biographic narrative and semi-structured methods. London ; Thousand Oaks, Calif, SAGE.

Winstanley, D. 2005. Personal effectiveness: a guide to action. London, Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "Qualitative Interviewing: Style, Philosophy and Frameworks." February 16, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/qualitative-interviewing-style-philosophy-and-frameworks/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'Qualitative Interviewing: Style, Philosophy and Frameworks'. 16 February.

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