Qualitative Interviewing - In Person Course



Organised by:

Social Research Association


Professor Karen O'Reilly


Entry (no or almost no prior knowledge)


Lindsay Adams
E: lindsay.adams@the-sra.org.uk (preferred method of contact)
T: 0204 551 3864


View in Google Maps  (N1 9RL)


The Society Building
8 All Saints Street


This course explores semi-structured and in-depth interviewing techniques (Foundation Course). 


As a qualitative method, qualitative interviewing can generate wonderfully rich and nuanced data, but it requires considerable social, listening and questioning skills. This one-day course is designed to help participants become aware of and practise some of the techniques involved. As well as a grounding in the principles of semi-structured and in-depth interviewing, participants will gain hands-on experience of conducting interviews, acting as an interviewee, and/or giving and receiving detailed feedback. We will use example topic guides to examine the difference between interview approaches and styles (for policy, intervention, assessment, and academic applications). The course will briefly cover relevant issues around recording, transcription and analysis.

Course objectives:

By the end of the course participants should:

  • Have practical and critical awareness of the theory and logic of qualitative (interpretive) interviewing
  • Be familiar with diverse styles of, and approaches to, qualitative interviewing
  • Be equipped to independently conduct qualitative interviews
  • Be confident to handle difficult situations and complex interview situations
  • Acquire good listening and probing skills
  • Be equipped to undertake appropriate design and planning of interviews
  • Have critical awareness of how to evaluate the quality of an interview


During the course we will cover:

  • Theories of interviewing
  • When to use this method
  • Different kinds of interview and degrees of structure
  • Questioning and probing skills (how to criticise and improve on these)
  • Using a topic guide
  • Practical issues involved in setting up interviews
  • Interviewing different kinds of participant, dealing with some challenges
  • Recording and transcription
  • How analysis relates to interview design

Who will benefit:

The course will benefit those who intend to use qualitative interviewing as the main method in a project or just a small element of it. It is also designed to support those who need to know what to look for when commissioning good quality research. It is suitable for participants with very little or no experience of interviewing but also can be of benefit for those wishing to brush-up their skills or simply acquire new skills without a specific project in mind. Participants come from diverse academic and policy backgrounds and very diverse topic areas. Some knowledge of qualitative research or attendance on the Foundations in Qualitative Research course is advisable.

Course tutor

Karen O'Reilly is Emeritus Professor of Sociology at Loughborough University and a Freelance Researcher. She has taught ethnographic and qualitative methods for over 25 years, including the Essex Summer School in Social Science Data Collection and Analysis, the Swiss Summer School in Social Science Methods, in Lugano; at the Universities of Aberdeen, Essex, Loughborough and Oxford; and in Germany, Norway and Hong Kong. Her experience also includes being a Member of the Advisory Board of the NCRM biannual Research Methods Festival 2011-2012; and a member of the ESRC Peer Review College 2012 – 2016.

Karen is a highly experienced ethnographer whose many publications include two widely cited books on ethnography: Ethnographic Methods (Routledge, 2nd ed. 2012) and Key Concepts in Ethnography (Sage, 2009). She has also been instrumental in the design and evaluation of Masters level Research Methods courses and programmes in a number of universities. Karen provides short courses for the SRA on a regular basis.


£270.00 SRA members pay £202.50

Website and registration:


Greater London


Qualitative Interviewing

Related publications and presentations:

Qualitative Interviewing

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