SOCG 5223 Qualitative Research Method Miniproject
Due Date: November 18, 2020
Objective: To apply principles of qualitative research techniques by conducting an interview, creating a
transcript, and coding the transcript.
Assignment: Conduct an hour-long interview with someone over their experiences with the COVID-19
pandemic. For the sake of safety due to the pandemic, the interview must be conducted by phone or
computer. You may use Facetime, Google Meet, Zoom, Skype, or similar software.
You will conduct an hour-long interview with the person. In the interview, ask the person about their
background (their backstory, brief life story), how his or her life was like before the pandemic, and how
his/her life was like after the pandemic was declared. Ask what was their first moment of realization
that the pandemic meant that life would change drastically. Ask how they prepared for the changes of
the pandemic after the lockdown was declared. Ask how the pandemic and lockdown affected people
that they knew.
For this interview, you will need to get permission from the person to make an audio recording. I
recommend using two audio devices to ensure that you have at least one useable recording. If you use
only one device, such as your phone, you are responsible in the event of lost data. If you lose your audio
recording, you will need to conduct a second interview (it can be with another person).
This is a classroom assignment for learning purposes only. You may not use your data to publish
Once you have an audio recording, you will create a verbatim transcript of your interview. You will not
paraphrase. This process will be time consuming if you do it right. Alternatively, you may use software
such as Tactiq with Google Meet to create a transcript. You may use software to create the transcript as
long as you edit the transcription for obvious mistakes made by Artificial Intelligence transcription.
Once you have your transcript, you will code your transcript. After you code your transcript, create a
report of the themes that emerge from your interview: for example, phrases, names, situations, etc.
that your interview subject mentioned, as well as the frequency that the person mentioned them.
Based on your transcript and coding, write a brief (2-3 page) memorandum of the interview. In your
memorandum, be sure to state how you recruited the interview subject for your assignment and the
relation of the interview subject to you.
• Be sure to conduct the interview in a way that is friendly but probing. You are not interrogating
a prisoner of war but you are not having a casual conversation either. Ask questions (probes) to
learn more about what an interview subject has just told you. You want what are known as
thick descriptions – these are descriptions in which the interview subject explains the context,
emotion, and detail without the interviewer assuming or imposing meaning on information.
• Ask questions that seem commonsense or obvious. Sometimes what you assume to be obvious
will, in fact, be a surprising and important piece of information.
• Ask questions that the interview subject will understand but be respectful. Avoid using
acronyms, terms, or jargon from your classes that a non-sociologist will not understand.
Ask questions that make sense. If you prepare for the interview ahead of time, you may have to
abandon some questions to probe or pursue unexpected information that your interview
subject gives you.
• Allow your interview subject time to respond. This is a common interview and teaching mistake.
Teachers are told to wait up to 30 seconds after asking a question to give students an
opportunity to respond, but most new teachers will wait about 2-3 seconds. Likewise, if there is
a moment of silence after a question, wait up to 30 seconds to give your interviewee the
opportunity to start speaking.
• Do not ask questions that are double-barreled, leading, or close-ended. Avoid asking yes-no
questions, avoid asking “why?” Instead ask questions that ask “how.” Examples: “How did you
feel” “What did you think about…”, “Can you describe…”, “Tell me more about…”, “What were
some of the ways that people reacted to…”, “What did you see…”, etc.
• Be sure to thank your interviewee for their time and cooperation.
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