This was a challenge. It is relatively easy to interview people to get them to answer simple questions. Qualitative interviews are more than that. The goal was to get people to open up about how they used their smartphones and then get them to think about – and then convey – why they used them in those ways. This is no small task. The biggest hurdle for most is to get interviewees to relax enough to share the information we needed. However when you’re asking people questions, they tend to take on a different posture, no matter how well they know you. The other challenge comes from the interviewers ability to “feel” where the interview is going and let that happen to get more information even though it may “off the beaten path”. This is also compounded by the fact that my students didn’t necessarily want the answers to these questions. I did. This was an assignment for them and not something they were geeking out on as I was. This made the interviews challenging.
I let the students go about a month and then reviewed the results. That’s when it became obvious that they needed some help. I knew it would be a challenge but I had underestimated how much of a challenge it was. I postponed the two interviews per week (with audio recordings) they were doing and interviewed a friend of mine so they would get a feel for what I was looking for and the kinds of information they could get if they tried. (This is the interview information: Myers.10.14.2014.3.35pm)
The other thing I should have done is shown the students the survey earlier in the quarter. They would have seen the types of information we were collecting and could have focused on collecting other elements through the interviews. It would have helped them focus on the qualitative aspects of the research.