Restate the RQ, and define the phenomenon of interest.

Interview Guide Worksheet

1. Restate the RQ, and define the phenomenon of interest.

2. Review your literature on the phenomena of interest.

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• Identify recurring patterns, conflicting ideas, or unique findings

• Choose 3 to 5 of these as potential topics for developing questions

• Identify keywords and phrases that will form the basis of your


3. Review your theoretical/conceptual framework

• Identify 3 to 5 concepts or assumptions that are fundamental

to the framework


• Identify keywords and phrases that will form the basis of your


4. Review methodological sources of your approach.

• What are the structural or key points that need to be included

in the interview guide so that it is consistent with the


5. Arrange the literature topics, framework concepts and methodological points into beginning, middle and end of interview.


6. Modify each concept so that it becomes an open-ended question. Use these guidelines as well as Patton’s examples (Chapter 7) to make sure the phenomenon of interest is thoroughly investigated.

• Make every question open-ended.

• Make every question neutral. Avoid leading questions, and avoid using

words that direct how the participant should answer.


• Ask only one question at a time.

• Make sure that the content of the question is consistent with

the participant’s level of education and culture.


7. For each question you ask, follow up with one or more of the following probes (probing questions encourage the participant to describe specific events and examples of the phenomena).


• Can you give me a specific example of …?

• Tell me about a typical day when [the phenomenon] happens to you?

• What did that experience mean to you?


8. Formulate an introduction to the interview. Start with an accessible, answer- able question.

• Begin the interview with a “warm-up” question—something that the

respondent can answer easily and at some length (though not too

long). Make sure the question pertains to the phenomenon of interest,

and will put you and the participant more at ease with one another to

make the rest of the interview flow more smoothly.

9. Review the concepts questions, and consider which concepts will be hard to talk about? Embarrassing? Move these concepts towards the middle of the interview.


10. Consider how you want to close the interview (“Is there anything else you’d like to share with me before we finish this interview?”). What can you say that will let the participant know they were “heard” and respected?


11. What do you need to communicate to the participant to “debrief”? This typically includes (1) how you will get in touch in order to have the participant verify the accuracy of the interview; and (2) what you will share with the participant once the study is completed.


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