Topic 2 Interviews

Before conducting an interview, a guide must be prepared that contains the objectives and the topics to be discussed; we can also resort to a script (4 or 5 themes that are easy to memorize, for example). This does not mean that they have to be carried out in the same way or in the same order in which they are proposed; success will depend more on the ability of the person interviewing to give fluidity and naturalness to the conversation.

An interview with some experts to start is fine, because they can give us confidence in the topics that arise most frequently, and they can remind us of aspects that we should not forget in the guide that we are going to use for the interviews.

Although each interview has a different context, we should always keep in mind that:

  • When introducing ourselves, we must guarantee the anonymity of what they are going to tell us, since we are interested in the “positions” that are being argued, and not who specifically said it. (As much the context in which it was said).
  • The duration should be approximately one hour, or a little more, depending on the confidence that is created.
  • We must not issue our opinions or judgments about what is being said, because everything that each group or person thinks is always very interesting, because it is “their” truth that is interesting to hear.
  • To guarantee fidelity to the verbatim words, it is preferable to record them on a recorder or on video.
  • It is better to have two people do it; in this case, it is convenient for the second person to take notes or be in the background, busy with technical details and remembering important aspects that have not come up in the conversation.
  • It is necessary to direct as little as possible and let the topics arise spontaneously by the person or group according to their form and rhythm to express themselves.
  • It is necessary to facilitate that the most topical or easy topics come out at the beginning to enter later in a climate of greater depth.
  • Questions related to social networks should be left for last (relationships between all social actors, personal conflicts, etc.).
  • We must say goodbye by returning to more topical issues of easy consensus and also emphasize anonymity, the objectives of this collection of information and calling for the return (although dates cannot be specified).

Individual interview

We carry out interviews with people who are involved (some are done at the beginning of the process): political leaders (from the City Council or from other institutions), technical personnel and representatives of the different associations and groups, according to the sample prepared.

For what?

  • To discover the positions and strategies of the social leaders.
  • To complete the information on the problem.
  • To see the relationships between administrations, associations and the rest of the population.

Group interviews

They are those that we carry out to a group of people who, formally organized or not, are not representatives or leaders. They can be located in the related, different, external or opposite sectors. The appropriate number of people is between 5 and 9 (gangs of friends, ladies doing an activity, etc.).

Contact with people can be prior, setting the date, time and place for the appointment, or be done more spontaneously, going to the places where they usually meet and asking those who are there the questions that allow us to know their position around certain topics.

The role that we must play when conducting the interview must be aimed at achieving a good climate of debate among these people. Previously we will have introduced ourselves and explained the objectives of the interview; then we have to manage to place ourselves in the background and ensure that the group expresses itself freely; In the event of very long silences or departures from the subject to be discussed, we will redirect the discussion by resuming an expression previously launched by someone.

It is convenient that we memorize, as in the individual interview, a previous script that helps us not to forget the questions or the objectives of the process; In this case, it is convenient for two or three people to do it, since, while one is in charge of leading the group meeting, the other or others must observe carefully and take the notes they consider appropriate, since it is a more logically, reactions of all kinds (complicity, surprise, annoyance) are produced among the people involved.