Further reading links to supplement your studies.
There are numerous excellent books, book chapters and articles on semi-structured interviews (and interviewing more generally) and focus groups written by geographers and other social scientists. I have listed below some recommended published titles:
- Denzin and Lincoln’s (2011) 4th edition of The SAGE Handbook of Qualitative Research provides a number of useful chapters including on interviews (e.g. Chapter 32 by Peräkylä and Ruusuvuori) and focus groups (e.g. Chapter 33 by Kamberelis and Dimitriadis). Other topics covered in The SAGE Handbook include ethics, politics, feminism, performance, technology and post qualitative research.
Denzin, N.K. and Lincoln Y.S. (eds) (2011) The SAGE Handbook of Qualitative Research (4th edn). Thousand Oaks: Sage.
- Madge and O’Connor (2002) discuss their experience of conducting what they call ‘semi-structured synchronous virtual group inteviews’ with a group of mothers. Using internet technologies for research is gaining popularity as more possibilities open up for synchronous audio and visual communications.
Madge, C. and O’Connor, H. (2002) ‘On-line with e-mums: exploring the internet as a medium for research, Area, 34, 102.
- Cameron (2005) provides a geographer’s perspective on focus groups, explaining the various ways they have been used, how to plan and conduct them and how to analyse and present results.
Cameron, J. (2005) ‘Focusing on the focus group’, in I. Hay (ed.) Qualitative Research Methods in Human Geography (2nd edn). Melbourne: Oxford University Press, pp. 116–132.
- Valentine’s (2005) chapter on ‘conversational interviews’ is highly readable and provides advice on whom to talk to, how to recruit participants and where to hold interviews. Valentine raises interesting questions about the ethics and politics of interviewing and alerts readers to some of the potential pitfalls that can occur in research.
Valentine, G. (2005) ‘Tell me about... using interviews as a research methodology’, in R. Flowerdew and D. Martin (eds) Methods in Human Geography: A Guide for Students Doing a Research Project (2nd edn). Edinburgh Gate: Addison Wesley Longman, pp. 110–127.
- Dunn (2005) discusses structured, semi-structured and unstructured interviewing in geography, critically assessing the relative strengths and weaknesses of each method. His chapter provides advice on interview design, practice, transcription, data analysis and presentation. Like Valentine, Dunn has a useful guide at the end of the chapter to further reading.
Dunn, K. (2005) ‘Interviewing’, in I. Hay (ed.) Qualitative Research Methods in Human Geography (2nd edn). Melbourne: Oxford University Press, pp. 79–105.