Collecting data – my first PhD interviews

This is a really nice stage in the PhD process. I’ve done a couple of pilot interviews and now I’ve started the real thing. On a practical note, I’m a bit nervous about recording and then loosing material so I’m trying to be very organised. I am keeping a table of the people I have contacted, whether they have replied, if we have a date fixed or if I’m due to contact them again in a couple of months time. As I am doing qualitative research, and only interviewing up to about 25 people, it shouldn’t be too complicated. However, the fact that I am working on this part-time does mean that I pick it up and leave it every week, so being organised is important.

I’ve chosen to transcribe the interviews myself. It is crasy and my back hurts after transcribing just 15 minutes worth of audio. But after the pilot stage, I felt that I became so familiar with the material by transcribing. Because it’s not just the words they speak but also the tone of voice and the giggles that is important. I’ve taken to record the stage just before the interview starts, to capture the few minutes when we are chatting and relaxing. I thought it might be useful – but I don’t know why yet.

I start the interview with a brief intro into the process and explain about the confidential nature of the interview. Cultural studies, from my understanding so far, is not a discipline that is very strict on ethics but I think it is good practice to just explain that I might publish but all the material is anonymous etc. I haven’t got anyone to sigh anything but I have a verbal agreement, recorded.

So far, I ‘ve simply used my iPhone and the app voice memos. I’m sure I could be much more sophisticated but I don’t have time to explore this. I want to keep it simple and focus on the content.

  1. an interesting read. all best with the work

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