SOCI 60, Assignment #4

This assignment requires you to construct an interview guide, conduct an in-depth interview over the phone or via Skype/FaceTime/Zoom, submit a partial transcript of that interview, and write a short reflection piece.

Think of a general research question or problem you would be interested in studying using in-depth interviews (for this assignment, you will only conduct
one semi-structured interview). Construct an interview guide designed to provide insight on your research question. The interview should last between 30-45 minutes (use Esterberg reading for tips on constructing guides).

Select a friend or family member to interview
virtually using your interview guide. This should be a person with knowledge or experience relating to the topic of your research interest. (Thus, if you are interested in consumerism, pick an avid shopper; if you are interested in religion, pick a regular church-goer, etc.). Explain to your respondent that you are conducting an assignment for a course, and ask permission to record the interview. If permission is not granted, find someone who will allow you to record the interview (you can use an app from your phone or program from your computer). Ask questions that elicit your respondent’s perspectives and experiences. Ask for specific, concrete examples of the points they make, and follow any “leads” by asking appropriate follow-up questions (that may not be in the interview guide you developed).

Transcribe 5 minutes of any part of the interview (using your phone or the recording option on Zoom). After transcribing the interview, go back and listen to the same 5 minutes that you transcribed without looking at the transcription while you are listening. Destroy the recording after you are finished.

Next, write a reflection piece (1 to 1.5 pages double-spaced, 12 pt font, standard margins). You do NOT have to discuss how your interview respondent shed light on your research question. In your short essay (and in no particular order), include a description of any added value of transcribing a slice of your interview. For example, how might the
process of transcribing be useful to researchers aside from simply providing a template for coding? Compare reading your transcription to listening to those same words through the voice of the respondent (see directive in latter paragraph). From this comparison, describe what, if anything, you think might be missed if you only relied upon interview transcriptions for your (future, hypothetical) analysis without returning to the tape to listen to the voices of the respondents.

In addition, write about your experiences while you were conducting the interview. The following are merely examples of questions that you may reflect on in your paper (i.e., you may ask and reflect on your own set of questions and/or draw from the ones provided): How might any (in)congruencies between your own and the respondents’ social categories (e.g., age, socioeconomic status, gender, race/ethnicity, etc.) have shaped respondents’ responses to your questions, your own follow-up questions, and how comfortable you and the respondent were during the interview? Was the process of interviewing different than you had imagined? If so, how? Were there unanticipated challenges? Did the respondent illuminate insights that would be difficult or impossible to shed light on through a standard survey (like the one you constructed for Assignment 2)?

Your assignment should include the following: your interview guide (with your general research question or problem stated at the top), a typed transcript of 5-minutes of the interview, and your reflection piece.