Posts Tagged ‘questions’

My research topic is on the GLBT community.  The theme of my interviews will involve the hardships and sufferings of this community, the individuality of each subject that I interview, and their civil rights.  I want to keep the themes general, because I do not want to slip into my own personal trap of persuasive writing.  I really want to try to remain neutral during my interviews, and allow the interviewees to tell me something I do not know.  I will be interviewing two lesbians and two gay men.  Three of them will be in person, and one will be online.  One of the gay men, Todd, said it is perfectly fine for me to use his real name.  I have not received permission to disclose the names of the others yet, but I will soon ask them how they feel about this.  I had no luck finding anyone to interview from twitter, but I did find someone on facebook.  He agreed to get interviewed, so I sent him an email asking him which way he would prefer being interviewed, email, twitter, etc.  Now I am waiting on his returned email.  Two of of my interviewees, Todd and one of the lesbians, I know personally, because they are coworkers of mine.  The other lesbian I will be interviewing I have never met before, but will meet in person soon.  She is the girlfriend of the lesbian I am interviewing that I work with.  The gay man I met online I do not know personally and will never meet him in person, but I will ask to speak with him on the phone.  I will be conducting two of my interviews on March 13, starting at 5 p.m., and I will record them if permitted.  I will be conducting my interview with Todd on March 15th at 4 p.m. and he said it would be fine for me to record the session.  I want to record them, so I do not have to write everything down.  In this way, the interview will be more like a conversation than an interview.   

Some of the questions I have come up with so far are:

Who is Todd?

What was your life like? Was it difficult or easy? Why?

How did you feel when you first came out?  Why?

What are your hobbies and why?

Who or what do you identify with and why?

Have you ever felt discriminated against for being GLBT? Why? What happened?

If you could change anything about the GLBT experience, what would it be?

Do you feel you have equal rights as a GLBT individual? Why or why not?  Has this impacted your life personally? How? Explain.

I want to add more questions eventually, but as for now I do not want to create too many questions.  I’d rather let the interviewees take the lead and spend most of the time talking if possible.  I tried to develop reflective, open-ended questions, so they can do this.  I plan on developing other questions during the interviews, which will probably be more effective, because these questions will reflect what the interviewees are saying.


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After reading, “Postmodern Interviewing,” and discussing it in class, I realized that an interview did not fully consist of what I normally perceived it to.  I always thought an interview was just asking a series of questions, getting the answers, and then interpreting the results.  Instead, it appears an interview is a lot more than that.  For example, I really like the idea that Dr. Wolff mentioned last night in class, which was that an interview should be more like a conversation and leave room for the interviewees to feel free to take the interview in a different direction.  In fact, this kind of interview sounds more fulfilling and worthwhile than my original perception of what an interview should be like.

I also liked the suggestion made in the book that an interview should consist of many open-ended questions, instead of cut and dry questions with specific answers like yes or no.  The yes and no questions do not reveal very much about the feelings and opinions of the interviewees, which are very important elements to consider when developing an interview.  In fact, I would go as far as to say that the interviewer does not ask the questions, but rather the interviewees do.  The interviewees illustrate through their feelings and opinions what questions should be asked.  Therefore, an interviewer is not just someone who asks questions and gets the answers, but is also someone who must know how to read people and situations well in order to understand what should be asked.  If the interviewer develops questions without also considering the people and their situations, then I feel the interviewer is more likely to express bias in the development of the questions, because he or she will only be considering his or her interests and not the interviewees’ interests.

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