Conducting and Documenting Interviews

Requirements for Interviews / Interviewers

FQS Interviews should provide insight into the richness and variety of qualitative research, and in the ideas, concepts, and (professional) biographies of those who have and those who continue to help to develop and promote this research tradition.

The following is a list of questions that can serve as an orientation to topics for interviews:

  1. What influences, motivations, perspectives were especially important for you becoming and being a qualitative researcher? (Talking about the context of their own work and, if possible, also more personally about the becoming / being a qualitative researcher)
  2. What is/was your contribution? (What do you expect for the future?) If applicable: What were the circumstances that caused you to change the course/style of your research? What made it necessary to do so?
  3. What are the most important developments in qualitative research in general within your specific discipline (and beyond it)? (Discuss in more detail the nature of interdisciplinary work within your specific discipline and from international perspective)
  4. What central challenges had to be managed, what "fights" (in general and in the specific discipline/country) were necessary (past and present), and what will be the coming challenges and "fights"?

Above all, interviews should not only contain specialized information only for specialists but should introduce the context, (current) questions, and discussions in the broad field of qualitative research. Doing these it is the task to define the challenges for qualitative research (and researchers) again and again, and to give the opportunity to learn about/from the history and tradition of qualitative research.

Interviews are especially helpful, because in an interview it is easier to talk about or debate ideas than in a typical academic article and, in addition, in interviews it is easier to create links between researchers and the products (and conditions of production) of their research.

Methods of Conducting and Presenting of Interviews

Interviews can be conducted as face-to-face-conversations. They also can be conducted by e-mail (as an asynchronous communication) or as a synchronous talk in a chat room. The interviews could be of a more traditional format (question and answer-format), or as an open discussion without a clear role definition of interviewee and interviewer.

The interviews can be published in the "original" format (as the discussion actually evolved during e-mail-communication or in the chat room) or as an edited (re-arranged) version (we prefer the latter); editing or re-arrangement could mean that the dialogue will be "cleaned up," or that the interview is the base for a new written and/or new composed text.

In addition to the interview it would be helpful if the interviewers provide some additional information that helps readers gain some insight into the interviewee and the interview situation, and also about the published document. Therefore it would be useful to get information about the interviewed person (e.g., life stations, central publication, awards; information that provides some insight in the interviewee's contribution to qualitative research). It will also be necessary to provide information about the interview situation (place and time of the interview; initial contact between interviewer and interviewee, and method of interview used). Finally, some information about the published text and documentation used should be presented.

Additionally, it is possible—and this is what makes online publishing very interesting—to publish photos of the interviewee (and interviewer) and the audio-/video tapes of the interview which could be part of the document or published as separate data.

Announcement of Interviews

All FQS readers may suggest individuals or topics for interviews. However, you must contact the editors prior to submitting an interview. Interviews submitted without prior inquiry may not be published.

Please note that we do not limit the number of interviewees or interviewers give because the length and kind of documentation depend on the content of the interview, but please inform the editors in cases of very long texts. The submitted interviews will be evaluated according to the criteria listed in the paragraph "Requirements for Interviews." If they do not fit these criteria, suggestions to revise may be given by the FQS editors.

Guidelines for Layout

The guidelines for FQS Interviews should follow the Guidelines for Layout valid for any manuscript submitted to FQS.