Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Advantages of Qualitative Interviewing in Program Evaluation


The majority of program evaluations utilize a quantitative research method. When reading both outcome and process evaluations, one most often encounters the use of some kind of a survey to elicit changes that have occurred. However, there is another method that can be used to elicit information during program evaluations. Qualitative interviews can be useful in eliciting more detail when investigating both processes and outcomes. These types of interviews can be used by themselves or in conjunction with, otherwise refered to as mixed methods, quantitatively based measures. Click the link below to read a general article about the use of qualitative interviews in program evaluation.


65 comments:

Kristie said...

This article regarding qualitive interviewing was very helpful because it addressed both the advantages and disadvantes of the interviewing process. Although qualitative interviews work great in some settings they do not necessarily work as well in other settings. Also, according to the article, an interview is simply a conversation and sometimes, for research purposes, "conversations" may not work as well as other approaches to researching. It was also interesting to the amount of detail that qualitative interviews exhibit. Qualitative interviews could prove very beneficial for program evaluations.

LaTasha T. said...

I agree with the advantages and disadvantages that are identified for qualitative interviewing. I think that it would be effective to use qualitative interviewing when evaluating a program for clients. Contrary to quantitative evaluations, qualitative interviews tend to be more in depth. In most cases the information that is for qualitative might be more in depth. This information might help the evaluators to find information that might not be available during normal evaluation. Overall, I think that if qualitative interviewing is used effectively, it can help guide the evaluation process.

Stacey L said...

I found the article to be very interesting. I had never realized how much went into this type of research. It is not as simple as a yes or no question survey, but an interview that can be emotionally hard on all involved with this process. I would prefer the results of a Qualitative research study because it is more involved than Quantitative research. But I have to be honest I am not sure that I would want to participate in this type of research. I will usually agree to phone survey, mail survey, etc, but if the interview process starts to take up too much of my time, I become frustrated and want the questions to end. So I can understand how hard it would be for a researcher to complete a Qualitative interview. Both types of research are needed to help us provide the best care to our clients, so I can understand why we need both types of research studies (one size does not fit all). Stacey L.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Kristie that it was a good thing that the article pointed out the disadvantages along with the advantages of using an interviewing process. I also liked what you said about qualitative interviews being useful in one setting and not in another. I think it is important to remember the purpose of the evaluation as well as what you are evaluating. If you can stay focused on what you are trying to evaluate then you can rule out what methods not to use. All I am saying is that qualitative information can be very valuable in some instances and not so valuable in others. STACY C.

S.Ray said...

I know there are times when nothing but quantitative research will suffice in regard to certain evaluations. However, I like the fact that in doing qualitative research we attempt to “understand the world from the subjects’ point of view.” Isn’t that what Social Work is all about? We must start where the client is. The article was very informative. I was surprised with the explanation of the “standardized open-ended interview”, I thought all qualitative interviewing was done in an informal conversational context.

Stu J. said...

I most enjoyed Josh's lecture this past week and reading the referenced article. For a profession, social work, so committed to self-determination, and the inherent dignity of each person, I would expect and hope that qualitative research would be held in much higher esteem than it generally receives. My bet is that qualitative research will grow in importance in the years ahead, we all deserve it!

S.Ray said...

In response to Kristie, I too found the article to be very informative. The fact that both advantages and disadvantages of qualitative interviewing were addressed made you stop and think about what types of evaluations this type of research would work well in.

Stu J. said...

In response to Kristie's comment, I agree that the article was balanced and informative regarding qualitative research and its role in the field. I spoke with a Ph.D. candidate in Psychology yesterday about her qualitative research nearing completion. She has interviewed 10-female caregivers of hospice and palliative care clients. Like Josh's research, a useful on depth look at the impact upon these women, which may offer guidance for the care and support of other caregivers in a similar situation.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Kristi that this article is beneficial in detailing the advantages and disadvantages of Qualitative interviewing.
As the Quality Assurance Coordinator at my current place of employment, I always encourage the QA team to attempt to complete face to face or phone interviews "Qualitative", verses the tradition method of sending out surveys "Quantitative". There is always a concern that stakeholders do not elaborate on their concerns, which leaves the agency questioning their negative response. As such, needs voiced by stakeholders in qualitative interviews can be followed up and throughly explained.

Virginia H. Tusc.

Anonymous said...

In response to the questions on the last slide of the assessment handout, if I were presented with the problems of an increase in domestic violence episodes in my community I would also meet with community members, develope a team and assign duties to determine and meet with the victims, family members, police officers, educational personell and neighbors, to gain as much information as possible. I believe it would also be important for the group members to be aware of the cycle of domestic violence, so a respresentative from DV would also be beneficial in the group. I would then research to locate resources for the victims, perpetrators and their families. I would make this information available via phamplets, newspaper articles, through the school system and also available to law enforcement. It would be important to develope a protocol to address the situation, so each team member would understand their role.
I would use this method, because it would be important to involve and educate all responding stakeholders, or those that might be affected by the violence.
I would use the police, area schools and emergency room departments to collect and document date.
It would take about 2-2 hours meetings. One to introduce and explain the community need and then gather information. I would simply have police officers to forward copies of reports involving domestic violence and have someone available to catergorize this information. It would be of minimal cost, because the group members would volunteer their time and energy for community empowerment.The strengths to this perspective would be educating the community and drawbacks would be the lack of domestic violence episodes being reported to the team.

Virginia H. Tuscaloosa

Anonymous said...

Conteria Williams, original posting to The Use of Qualitative Interviews in Evaluation.
This is very good information, through reading this article, I was able to learn about the positive and negative aspects of using qualitative evaluation. I didn’t realize that through using this type of approach, that it provides the evaluator with quotations, which are the main source of raw data. Therefore, this approach establishes the framework, which people can respond in a way that represents accurately about their point of view. Another important aspect about this article is the way that the Five-Tiered Approach to Program Evaluation is outlined. Through the layout of the outline, social workers are given the base of how to adequately utilize this tool of strengthens. Overall, I really enjoyed the information that has been provided here.

Anonymous said...

Conteria Williams, comment to Kristie
I also feel that the information was beneficial and that the most important aspect of this article was the way that emphasized was placed on the advantages and disadvantages of using this method. Therefore, the type of situation should determine whether or not qualitative approach is appropriate to use. So the key thing to remember when using any approach is what will give the evaluator quality information with doing the least harm to the client.

Taylor said...

I prefer qualitive interviews over quantitative interviews. In my opinion, quantitative interview questions just seem so impersonal. As the article points out, qualitative research interviews "attempt to understand the world from the subjects'point of view, to unfold the meaning of people's experiences, to uncover their lived world." To me, that sounds a lot like a definition of clinical social work. I know quantitative research is important in social work too, but qualitative research just seems so much more humane.

Taylor said...

I agree with kristie this article was very helpful. I think it is important to be aware of when qualitative interviewing is useful and when it is not. Quite honestly, I am suprised that qualitative interviews are not considered uesful when conducting impact evaluations. I would think that if participants attributed their changes to your intervention then that would be important information to note.

SWilliams said...

Stacey L., I have to agree with you about not wanting to participate in interviews. I know that when I agree to something like that I’m giving away an awful lot of my time. There are some groups that I will give my time to, others not so much. But, then again if I’m not willing to give my time for an interview I wonder what our clients are thinking when we ask them to participate in a variety of interviews for research purposes.

SWilliams said...

I found this article interesting. I really was interested in the exploration of the interviewers reaction to what was discussed in the interview. I had never really thought of the impact that this could have. Because of this, I now understand the bias aspect of qualitative research a little better. I also thought of all the interviews and assessments that we as social workers ask our clients to participate in during the time that we are helping them. Each time that we are asking them to participate in these activities we are actually doing research into their needs as well as their family backgrounds, etc. I really have to agree with S. Ray, social work is all about getting to know your clients and figuring out where they are in their lives and helping them reach their full potential.

david l. said...

The article on qualitative interviews was informative and clearly stated the purpose and situations when qualitative interviews are a more effective evaluation tool. I understood and could relate to the advantages and disadvantages of the qualitative style of interviewing, but I believe it is a good approach when trying to establish if a client “feels” they are receiving adequate treatment. However, it is fair to state that applying a mixed methods approach of interviewing could be a highly credible form of program evaluation.

david l. said...

Beautiful comment Taylor. I completely agree with the points you made about qualitative interviews. I believe it is important to establish rapport with a client and “attempt to understand the world from the subject’s point of view” is salient to conduct effective treatment. As social workers, we are taught to begin where the client is but how can begin where a client is if you do not understand the problem? How can you evaluate and misunderstood process?

R.A.Montgomery said...

INITIAL BLOG:

I copied this article to my research information because I feel it will be helpful in the future. I especially like the fact that this type of research allows Social Workers to increase their interview skills, and being able to illicit information is a needed skill. Especially when dealing with children or teenagers, who may be reluctant to speak with a stranger or an adult in a professional setting. I especially liked the fact that the article gives occasions where this type of interview would be productive and unproductive. One of those occasions where it would be productive is exploring the differences of realities in a stressful situation, exploring individual differences between participants' experiences and outcomes. This is the issue we discussed in class that really caught my attention because I could see where this could be a real concern, like in a child abuse case, where you need to find out very troubling conditions and occurrences .

IN RESPONCES TO:

Stacey L
Stacey I like the point that you made about this being a complex form on interviewing, and how emotionally difficult this could be on all involved due to the questions asked and the time it takes to complete this type of interview.

S. RAY
Quantitative Research is designed to research natural occurrences or phenomena but like you I feel that Qualitative interviewing is perfect for seeing the world's through some else's eyes. This type of intervening techniques would be perfect in investigations, or attempting to understand a foster child's point of view. Like you, I was surprised with the explanation of the “standardized open-ended interview”; I thought all qualitative interviewing was done in an informal conversational context.

Anonymous said...

This was a very interesting article. It touched on many things we learned in our summer research class concerning the advantages of qualitative research as well as the disadvantages. It is also interesting to see the detail that goes into this type of research. It is very time consuming and can be expensive but being able to ask open ended questions, receive exact quotes, and observe body language in response to the questions being asked is very helpful as opposed to a phone interview. It was really interesting to hear the school adminstrations response to the teachers complaints. They were basically labled lazy and disgruntled but when exact quotes were provided from the teachers the interview results were viewed differently. I am a big fan of qualitative research.
C.Paulk

Anonymous said...

I agree with S. Ray I like the fact that qualitative research looks to understand the world from the clients point of view which is the starting point in social work in being able to assist clients and programs to change for the better.
C. Paulk

Stacey L said...

In response to Stu J, I can not image how hard it would be to complete a research study on caregivers of hospice patients. Caregiver stress is a very real problem for any person that is providing care to the medically ill, but to provide care for the terminally ill, I feel would be very hard to handle. I would like to see the results of this research. I know as a home health care social worker, I always hand out info about local support groups, as well as an info sheet on how to take care of yourself as a caregiver. Caregiver stress affects all parties involved from the patient to other family members. I hope that this Ph.D. student is getting some debriefing herself, because I am sure this type of research can be very emotionally trying.

Anonymous said...

This article was very informative and explained that qualitative research does have a place in the research field. I think that Josh was absolutely correct in stating that “qualitative research and social work go hand in hand” as with qualitative research methods, you truly get the “lived experience” of the person you are interviewing. I also think this type of research is pertinent in social work because many of the things that we discuss with clients are personal and sensitive topics. If you just throw a questionnaire at someone you are not going to get such personal responses, and you may just put the person in turmoil by bringing it up and giving them no outlet to work through it. The article was very fair in specifying where qualitative research belongs and where it does not, and overall, the article put positive spin on the importance if using both qualitative and quantitative types of research.
Heather M.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Latasha’s statement that “qualitative research is more in depth” and the statement about drawing out more information from a qualitative interview then what you can obtain in a quantitative research study. I think that qualitative research can be much more revealing then quantitative. With quantitative you are often just scratching the surface and with qualitative you are digging a little deeper.
Heather M.

Gina Smith said...

Gina Smith/Gadsden - Original Post

Prior to reading this article, I participated in a quantitative survey that I received in my email from AT&T. Though it was relatively short, I found that I was soon wishing that I had not chosen to participate. It was a Lickert scale survey and did not involve any mind boggling questions. After reading the article, I was glad that AT&T did not call me for a more qualitative interview. Though both approaches to research have their advantages and disadvantages, as pointed out in the article, the type of information that the researcher is looking for should dictate whether you use a qualitative, quantitative or mixed methods approach to obtaining the needed data. As a social worker that needs to know detailed information about the history of the children and families that we work with, qualitative methods are more widely used; however, as a QA coordinator, I find that quantitative data is what is most desired by administrators and staff at the State level when it comes to staff allocations, money allocations, providers' ability to meet goals and objectives as set out for each family, and to allow continued access more diverse services.
As in Josh's endeavors, I think it would be important for his dissertation committee to include faculty that understands the importance of qualitative research and the type of information that can be gained from this process. It appears to me that it would be harder to defend qualitative data than quantitative data, as the reviewers would have their own personal beliefs, ideas, or prejudices and that being able to persuade them to look past their preconceived notions to accept your findings would be a daunting task.

Gina Smith said...

Gins Smith/Gadsden Respnse to Stacy l:

I believe that Stacy is right on the money when she states that qualitative interviews can be hard on the interviewer and the interviewee. Information sought may be of a more personal nature and may bring back memories or feelings that are hard to deal with. Also, these type of interviews can last 2 or more hours and the follow up on dictating and recording your findings could take days, even months to complete. A qualitative interviewer would need to have patience, dilligence, and a true belief that what he is searching for is worth the time and work involved. Though I am sure that not all interviewers have the luxury of having rapport with the person being interviewed, I believe that it would be beneficial to have some rapport to be able to get real answers to the questions.

Amy H. said...

I enjoyed reading this article and believe it was well written and easy to understand. I liked how examples were given such as the teacher survey and how it was initially dismissed until the comments were written and the school board was able to have a better understanding. The section on special issues in interviewing children was also helpful and touched on some brief issues about the skills needed when interviewing and testing children. I think this article would have been helpful when taking the first research class.

Amy H. said...

In response to s. ray...
I also like the fact that qualitative intervewing is about attempting to understand the world from the subjects' point of veiw. This applies to everyday life becuase everyone has a different perspective on their life experiences and this should be considered in the interview process.

Anonymous said...

Very good topic for us to debate. Quantitative research seems to be more "respected" by some in the research field, including some at the University of Alabama. Qualitative research has its place in research and those that decide to specialize in it, know its benefits in the research field and in many ways, are more "in tune" with everyday people. They are interested in words, not just numbers and are interested in understanding world from another's point of view. If interviews are merely conversations, then all of us are conducting qualitative interviews as social workers are looking to understand subject from another's point of view. Qualitative interviews may be better in some settings than in others. One may encounter resistant clients not willing to be so open. Or one may find clients unhappy with a certain setting/program and not be able to find any positive in program, therefore, this may skew the findings somewhat. Overall, qualitative interviews has its place in program evaluation, especially if one wants to get indepth insight into a program.
A. Phillips
Tuscaloosa

Anonymous said...

In response to Taylor, I agree with the comment about qualitative research appearing more humane. Seems very cold to ask questions with no feeling or emotions attached to it as quantitive research does. Then again, this opens the door up to bias entering the picture and as a researcher, one has to be very cautious of this.
Angel P.
Tuscaloosa

LaTasha T. said...

I agree with Taylor's response! Qualitative interviews are more personal than quantitative interviews. From my professional as a case worker, clients tend to be more open when you come off as being genuine which is what qualitative interviews involve. This is not an implication that quantitative interviews are not genuine. However, the information that we receive from quantitative interviews are less time consuming than qualitative interviews which could cause the client to be less willing to talk. I think that it can be effective to go that extra mile with qualitative interviews. This helps the client to realize that we are sincerely interested in what they have to say. When we take time out with clients and are sincerely interested in what they have to say, they will be more open with us.

On another note, I think that a problem that would result in qualitative interview is the issue of boundaries. The client might disclose too much information. I have had this occur before and I had to remind the client of what the role of the client and the professional was in the relationship. As long as we as professionals continue to adhere to what what our profession expects of us, qualitative interviewing can be effective.

Anonymous said...

I agree with S. Ray that we should definately use qualitative interviewing to start where the client is. I have learned more from clients by simply asking them open ended questions and then just sitting back and listening. When they are given a chance, they usually start to open up and end up giving more information then I ever thought that I would receive. Robin G.

Tiffiney Brittingham said...

The article gave a better understanding about qualitative research. Every study or research experiment has advantages and disadvantages, and a qualitative study would be beneficial in understanding where a program went wrong or what's going right with a program. A qualitative study can also provide an in depth perception or experience of a person.

Tiffiney Brittingham

Tiffiney Brittingham said...

I agree with Latasha T., a qualitative research would be effective in evaluation the process of a program and it's more in depth.

A quantitative research experiment can ony give numbers and statiscal facts, but a qualitative experiment can give a better understand of why the statistical facts and numbers are the way they are.

Anonymous said...

ORIGINAL POST
Anytime we as researchers or clinicians attempt to understand the world from the client’s perspective is a good thing. I like the idea of using qualitative interviewing as an exploratory step or after the results of a more standardized approach. “The power of the interviewer is more powerful than the interviewee” I think one thing we need to take into account when using Qualitative methods is the influence of the questioner and the affect it can have on the interviewee. Interviewing is definitely a learned skill and one that should be taken very serious. Often times, this is the first contact we have with a person. We must also understand that as an interviewer, we can unknowingly lead an answer. One of the most powerful lines in the article to me is when it refers to disagreeing with findings; “it can be harder to dismiss the actual words of participants which convey their powerful emotions.” Used in conjunction with quantitative mixed-methods approach, it seems it would be tougher to dispute the results. I think the use of qualitative interviewing is ideal for use in program evaluation. It is easy to draw a conclusion from analyzing data and statistics. If the evaluator can interview those involved in the program, I think it will clear up any questions. For example, in our last site visit the auditor could have docked us points for an error. Upon discovery of this error, the auditor chose to informally interview a staff member which actually cleared things up. If they just relied on the quantitative data, the end result would not have been as good.

RESPONSE
I would like to comment in response to Stu’s post. I hope to see the Qualitative process in research held in higher regard and treated less like a red headed step- child of the research world. I also hope that it will continue to grow in popularity and respect. My comment is biased, as I happen to favor this form of research in what limited experience I do have up to this point. However, I want to temper my enthusiasm for the qualitative style with objectivity. Quantitative research is also very important and my views may change as I gain more experience with research. It is also intimidating for me as it deals more with numbers and statistics. I was excited to learn that some hire statisticians and use programs for this. If in the future if I do feel differently, I hope that I will always value both and not outwardly criticize one as inferior. There is a time and place for both and both can co-exist. It is kind of ironic that some in academia are guilty of intolerance on occasion.
Matt G. (Gadsden)

Anonymous said...

Reading this article has got me overwhelmed, because as social workers we use this stuff daily. I never knew so much could or should go into an interview. The article was very informative on how an interview should be structured so that you get the best results. This makes me want redue all the interviews that I've done over again!

Tiff v

Teresa D. / Gadsden Center said...

The article regarding qualitative interviewing gave me much to think about. I never thought about letting a child know they have the right not to participate, after the parent has signed a concent form. I can definately understand why interviewing children for an evaluation could be challenging when you need to protect their rights in participating in the study. Good information was brought out concerning the appropriate uses of qualitative research. I know there is a place for this type of research in evaluations. I have read studies that came to be theories that we use in practice where much information was gained through qualitative studies.

Teresa D. / Gadsden Center said...

Response to latasha t.
I totally agree with Latasha when she states that qualitative research tends to be more in depth with information. A quantitative research instrument where one would "choose the best answer" may not be exactly what the participate is really thinking on that particular question. If you ask for an open response after the choice, you would have a greater understanding of what the participant is really saying. Best of both worlds...quantitative and qualitative.

Linda B said...

The qualitative interview definitely has a place in evaluations, helping to personalize the issues and give emotion to numbers. I feel that that the strongest evaluations include both quantitative research to provide measurement and statistics, and the more personal side of qualitative interviews. However, I feel that it takes a skilled interviewer to avoid skewing the interview based on personal opinion.

Linda B said...

In response to Virginia H., I appreciate your response regarding your position as a Q.A. Coordinator, and how the use of qualitative interviewing is important in that position. This helps emphasize the importance of research in our real-life practices.

Karen P said...

ADVANTAGES OF QUALITATIVE INTERVIEWING IN PROGRAM EVALUATION

When considering the use of qualitative interviews in process or outcome evaluation, I feel the advantages in many regards outweigh the disadvantages. When we evaluate, we seek outcomes that can reveal the successes/failures of a program or process and the “why” and “how” of the success/failure. Combining qualitative interviewing with quantitative measures as part of the evaluation process would be the most useful and meaningful approach, as asserted in the article. Information obtained through qualitative interviewing can (in a sense) bring quantitative data to life and provide further insight into underlying reasons for potential problems and/or the rationale for obvious successes. Within the article, qualitative interviewing seemed most beneficial within the evaluation tiers of problem definition, progress towards outcomes, and program impact. While qualitative interviewing can prove to be more time-consuming, expensive, and difficult to analyze versus using more structured and standardized quantitative measures for evaluation, the information and insight gained from key stakeholders, staff, community members, parents, etc…can be an invaluable contribution to the overall evaluation process and measuring its impact.

Karen P.

jefN gadsden said...

Qualitative interviewing is the only way to get a participant’s authentic opinion of a program, process, or even an assessment. I have been a fan of Motivational Interviewing (MI) for a long time and although it is generally used at the assessment phase of treatment, it can be adapted for evaluation. I guess the closest match would be the informal conversational interview, where the respondent may not even be aware that an interview is transpiring, it just appears to be a conversation about a particular subject (in my case it’s substance abuse, and all that that entails). I hope to hone my skills to the point of being able to administer the ASI via MI. Anyway, when working with humans, their perspective is paramount to the healing process.

jefN gadsden said...

s.ray you are correct! That is exactly what social work (and the hokey-pokey) is all about. If we don't ask, we may never know.

jefN gadsden said...

I agree with taylor's statement about the preference of Quaaludes over quantitative and how it seem so impersonal. How many times have you responded to a statement with, "strongly agree or somewhat disagree" in your personal life?

Anonymous said...

This particular article proved to be very helpful to me, especially at a time when I was having to perform 2 interviews for another class. It made me aware of what all is involved in doing a qualitative interview & I can see how crucial it is for the interviewer to be knowledgeable, and experienced in the content area as well as having excellent communication skills and being personable but also able to control your emotions and recognize the emotions in the client you are interviewing.
Faye

Anonymous said...

In response to Taylor, I agree that quantitative interviews seem to be so impersonal. I realize they are necessary however, but I prefer doing qualitative interviews for several reasons. The main reason being that I have the opportunity to gain insight into how my client is feeling and thinking about certain issues. It provides good clinical experience, which I enjoy as well.
Faye

Karen P said...

Response to Tiffiney B.:

Tiffiney, the opportunity to gain a personal, in-depth perspective of someone’s experience is the most appealing aspect of the qualitative approach. It can reveal underlying factors regarding the success/failure of a process or outcome that may completely go unnoticed through using only a quantitative approach to an evaluation. In most instances, I feel that using a combination of both approaches will yield the most meaningful results to the stakeholders.

Karen P.

chadknight said...

I think that qualitative interviewing would be very helpful in program evaluation. The interviewer can read body language, ensure that respondents fully understand the questions, and get more detailed answers that questionnaires alone.

chadknight said...

Stu, I think you're right about the increasing importance of qualitative research, even if it is only within the social work profession.

Walter L. said...

Walter L. said this article was quite informative it gave the advangates and disadvangates, which would be helpful before conducting an interview. Qualitative interviews for research and practitioners has a way of allow the interviewer a chance to get indept with the consumer.

Walter agrees with s.ray about getting to understand the consumer from his point of view, how does the consumer see the world. Qualitative interviewing allow you to start where the consumer is.

Anonymous said...

Regarding Tiff V.
Be proud of the interviews you have done. Everyone you interview is different and what works with one interview may not work with the next interview. Your interviewing style will change depending on the circumstances, such as education level, cognitive abilities, etc.
Angel-Tuscaloosa

ojwashington said...

I agree with the article points about the advantages and disadvatages of using the the interviewing process. I would like to state that it is my opinion that qualitative intervews are the most effective way to evaulte a program because you are able to obtain the perceptions of the clients.

ojwashington said...

I agree with Jeff that qualitative interviewing is the only way to get the client's authentic opinion about the program.

amanda said...

The article had some interesting information on qualitative interviewing. There are both positive and negative points to qualitative interviewing. Some of the negative points include: extensive to train and conduct interviews, time consuming, and could be biased because of the interviewer's emotional state at the moment or personality differences. Some of the positive points include: allow participants to describe in detail what their answer means, interviewer is able to probe for more information if needed, and high credibility. Qualitative interviewing can be extremely useful, if used right and in the correct situation.
Amanda H

amanda said...

In response to stephanie, i agree with the statement about bias. I can only imagine how easily the research could be skewed by the way the interviewer asks the questions or responds to the answers.

Amanda

Tysie Baker said...

I agree with Tiffiney, this article was interesting in that it provided information that would benefit any program or evaluation that a researcher is conducting. For example, it not only pointed out the advantages, and disadvantages to using qualitative interviewing; as well as, how they can be useful and not so useful. The article was very informative in providing necessary tools that would make qualitative interviewing be a success for any program.

Tysie Baker said...

I found this article to be very informative because it not only provided the reader or researcher with valuable information, but also provided them with the right ingredients that would make qualitative interviewing a complete success. It is definitely more useful to use qualitative interviewing techniques when the researcher wishes to discover what is working effectively for the client and what has been ineffective for the client. However, it is not useful to use qualitative interviewing to discover outcomes for all clients in a particular study. I really got a lot out of reading this article and will refer back to it from time to time.

nikkig said...

My boss hired me 2 years ago, and at that time she said that once I started working on my Masters I would learn all the "technical and professional" terms for what I do everyday.
Having read the article about Qualititative Interviewing, I understand that I've participated in qualitative interviews every time CTF comes to review our program. They speak with me as the service providers, come to my clients home, and also conduct qualitative interviews with them to get their point of view on the quality of our services and whether or not it is truly needed in the community.

nikkig said...

In response to Stacy C.,
Reading your post made me think about client satisfaction surveys. In a sense, the same is true with the qualitative interviewing technique; Depending on who is conducting the interviewing, or even the person being interviewed, the results could be very skewed and produce inaccurate insight.

bekkah_s said...

I really liked this article and saw it as something that I could use later on in my practice. I liked how the categories were divided up for purpose, design, ethical issues, and working with children. If I ever did find myself working on a research project, I would definitely like to use the qualitative approach in a program evaluation. It seems so much more personal and not so staged (even though it is!). I really enjoy getting to develop the relationship with the clients with which I work and think that I would exude more confidence.

bekkah_s said...

I agree with everyone that discussed how important it would be to watch out for bias when translating the results. As social workers, it is our jobs to report observations and facts. However, when dealing with the nature of issues with which we work, it is difficult to exclude all opinions. Josh discussed in class the sidebar notes that a researcher is supposed to take after conducting qualitative interviews to think of things that might have impacted the results of the interviews. I think that even those pieces of information need to be free of bias and stick to the facts of the meeting. From my experience with quantitative information, I know that I do not take the questions as seriously if I have to bubble something as opposed to expressing my opinion about an issue. I still think that I would enjoy facilitating the qualitative interviews more so that gathering the quantitative data.

Sara S. said...

Original Post

I enjoyed reading about qualitative research and interviewing. I have always been more interested in qualitative research than quantitative. It seems that qualitative research is more about the participants; whereas quantitative seems to be all about numbers. I personally “get lost” when trying to deal with numbers. I also got into social work because I am interested in working with people, and that is what qualitative interviewing is about. Qualitative research and social work seem to go hand in hand. I like that qualitative interviewing uses open ended questions. Researchers are able to get a more clear picture of what the respondent is truly talking about instead of them answering either yes or no, when there could be more information warranted. I also like the fact that readers know up from that there is an obvious bias within a study if the study is qualitative.

Sara S. (Tuscaloosa)

Sara S. said...

Response Posting:

In response to Stacy,

Stacy, you are so right. There is a lot more that goes into qualitative research than it may appear. When I first started reading and learning about qualitative research I thought it was easy, but after a more extensive look at it I realized just how complicated it is. Just because it doesn’t deal with numbers doesn’t mean it’s not complex.

Sara S. (Tuscaloosa)

Debbie Walker said...

I agree that by using qualitative data information gathered is reflective of an individual participant’s personal needs and experiences. This kind of data can be useful for agency performance improvement. We recently implemented a Compliment/Complaint/Suggestion box at the agency I work for in the outpatient services area. We created a form with an area for the clients to communicate beyond the standard “Yes/No” questions regarding customer service. The feedback has been helpful looking at how we scheduled client appointments with doctors, nurses, therapists and case managers.

Debbie Walker said...

I agree with S. Ray qualitative interviewing does have a place with program evaluations. These interviews offer a client perspective that may be more detailed that other instruments or scales.