Interview Study Paper



Note: In writing up your study, use the format given in the “Example of a Completed Paper” page in the Interview Study Final Paper folder.

This paper should be 7 to 10 pages in length, double-spaced and size 12 font. No outside library research is required because your data is the information you received through your interviews. You are creating a ‘word rich picture’ through the use of quotes from your interviews. In order to create this ‘word rich picture’ you need to include as many quotes as possible in the body of your paper. You should have asked 10 questions, therefore the body of the paper should have 10 paragraphs (one paragraph for each question). Use your questions as paragraph topics and since you’ve asked six people the same question you need to have a minimum of six direct quotes in each paragraph. In other words there is a minimum ONE QUOTE from EACH person, therefore DO NOT ‘LUMP’ RESPONSES TOGETHER AND PARAPHRASE. Please do not use their real names, but you should use the same pseudonym for a particular participant. In each paragraph you should refer to any similarities or differences in the participants replies.

Remember this paper is an exercise in Practicing/Applied Anthropology, so in your final paragraph or the conclusion you need to apply your findings. What I mean is you need to take your data and apply it to the general ‘others’. For instance, if the study was on child abuse what is in your data (information from your interviews) that would applicable to inform others in order to deal with the social issue of child abuse? What have you found out through your interviews that would help others that might be faced with the same social issue/problem? Where would you present your findings to get the information out there to help others?

The following is one way to compile your data for easy interpretation/analyzing and in writing the paper:

After you have transcribed your interviews, read through them, and look for similarities and differences in the answers/replies. I recommend that you ‘color code’ with highlighters, i.e., use blue for similarities and yellow for differences. This color-code method allows you to glance at your data and immediately know what is what. Remember that you are to USE DIRECT QUOTES in your paper and now would be a good time to mark the ones you intend to use. Write the introduction and include your thesis statement. Use your questions as paragraph topics and since you’ve asked six people the same question you should have a minimum of six direct quotes. Again, do not lump the answers together. Anyone who gives a one-word answer, such as “Yes,” needs to be asked “why” do you say yes?” Remember you want to find out why a particular person says something and short or one-word answers do not give you that data.

Please do not use the participants’ real names, use pseudonym (fake names). However, you should use the same pseudonym for the same participant in your paper. For example, the participant’s name is Jane, so each time I use a quote from Jane I would call her Patty. Anytime I use Rebecca’s quotes I would call her Samantha throughout the paper. In other words, identify participants by their particular pseudonyms throughout the paper. This gives the reader continuity of that particular participant’s thoughts. As I said, you are creating a ‘rich word picture’ and by using each participant’s pseudonym correctly, the reader can identify with each participant.

After you’ve written up each question you asked, you need to include your analysis of the data for that question. In the analysis I want you to tell me the number of similar answers and different ones. Why are they similar or different? Does the gender, age, ethnicity and socioeconomic class make a difference in how the participant answered the question.

In your conclusion you need to write a statement or two on application of your data. You need to ask yourself “what have I found out through my interviews that would help other people deal with the same problem [this information usually comes from the similarities and differences]?” Then give a suggestion on how you would take that information and make it known to others. For example, if I did a study on child abuse, I might offer to speak to parenting groups about my findings. I have placed an example of a completed paper in the Interview Study folder. To save space I condensed it to single-space, but your paper is to be double-spaced. I also stated in my example what requirements are left out of the paper, so please take note of that and do not make the same mistakes.

Below is an explanation of what each section of your paper should entail.

Here you state your research question. Talk about the concepts involved and what brought you to focus on the problem in the first place. Then tell us about the participants demographically. Who are they in terms of age, gender, ethnicity, occupation, economic standing, political persuasion if relevant, educational background; in brief, tell us all you can about them without revealing their names, addresses or any means by which they might be identified personally. Then create an interesting transition to the body of your project.

The body of your work should be organized around the questions you ask. You have 10 questions; therefore you could have 10 major paragraphs with a minimum of 6 direct quotes (minimum one direct quote from each participant per question and DO NOT ‘LUMP’ RESPONSES TOGETHER AND PARAPHRASE) in each paragraph. You need to analyze each question and look for the common themes that arise between and among your participants. Note the differences as well. When 3 people agree on one issue and 1 is vehemently opposed to that interpretation, then the why’s of this disagreement often lead to insights. It is not enough to simply interview, transcribe and pull quotes out randomly; you must study each transcribed interview. Look for common concepts and ideas that emerge and build an answer to the question you ask from the responses of your participants. How does gender, ethnicity, age, and socioeconomic class come into play with the answers.

Edit Your Work:
Do not forget to edit your paper. You cannot change the way a participant says some thing, but you can edit what you said. Do not rely on spell check to catch your errors, as editing your work is your best friend in this process. We all know by now, or should know, that re-writing is easier than writing the first draft, and with re-writing, i.e. editing, the project improves, yet the person who waits and doesn’t give him or herself enough time to carefully edit actually eliminates the possibility that the project can be as good as possible. Please do not impose upon me the necessity to check spelling or grammar errors. Remember that your work is a reflection of yourself.