Checklist for Facilitating a Good Interview

Do your homework

☑ Be prepared to talk about your research – be ready to clearly articulate the rationale, aims, objectives, and methods

☑ Prepare a brief outline of your project – individuals or organizations may want to have a document they can consider and/or present to ‘gatekeepers’

☑ Have a letter of introduction – a letter of introduction from your supervisor can professionally answer questions like ‘So who are you and where are you from?’

☑ Find out about appropriate protocols – sometimes the contacts that are most willing to help do not have the authority to authorize access. Finding out about appropriate protocols can help avoid awkward situations

Be professional

☑ Be respectful – choose the right time for your approach, be prompt, dress appropriately, and be modest in your initial requests

☑ Plan for the unexpected – very rarely does the research process run smoothly, especially when you are dealing with individuals; be prepared for glitches

☑ Leave doors open – many researchers swear they’ve collected all the data they are going to need, but later wish they could go back and ask just a few more questions

Offer something back

☑ Don’t disappear – let your contacts know how things are progressing and/or send a note of thanks

☑ Make results available – it is quite natural to have a sense of curiosity about studies of which you are a part; the results of your study can be quite valued by those who have facilitated your research

☑ Facilitating honest and open responses even though your interviewees may want to impress, be liked, or maintain privacy

☑ Suspending all judgement – if respondents feel judged, ashamed, or offended, it is difficult to gather credible data

☑ Figuring out how attributes such as race, gender, ethnicity, class, and age of interviewer and interviewee alike might affect the interview process

☑ Communication miscues – moving from questions to answers is anything but a straightforward process. Misunderstandings and misinterpretation are all too common