You are now in the main content area

Qualitative interviews: Design, recruitment, ethics and conducting

October 30, 2020
9:00 AM EDT - 12:30 PM EDT
Online via Zoom

About the workshop:

Qualitative interviews are an important research method that draws on a fundamental mode of human interaction. Participants describe their experiences and perspectives in their own terms, and a two-way ‘performance’ ensues involving verbal and non-verbal codes. To master the art of interviewing, the researcher needs to understand how inter-subjective knowledge is produced.

In this workshop you will learn:

  • How to interpret the lived experiences and subjective truth expressed by the participant
  • What does the interview setting convey in terms of position and power?
  • How to optimize recruitment of participants
  • What are the ethical considerations for conducting interviews?
  • How to prepare and carry out a successful interview

How this workshop will be delivered:

The workshop will provide step-by-step techniques and include discussion on their ethical and methodological underpinnings. Teamwork and hands-on exercises provide an opportunity for practice. Detailed instructions for workshop exercises will be provided to participants beforehand.

9 AM – 9:30 AM    Introduction and Welcome

  • What is an interview and why interview?
  • The politics of knowledge production
  • Tips for designing a semi-structured interview guide   

9:30 AM – 10 AM    Exercise 1: Positionality

  • Identifying positionality and the ethical considerations for sample case studies. Participants will be divided into groups and a case study will be given to each group to figure out the key aspects of positionality and relevant power relations.


10 AM – 10:10 AM    Discussion: Reflection on the exercise.


10:10 AM - 10:15 AM    Break


10:15 AM – 10:45 AM    Lecture

  • Recruitment strategies: selection of research participants
  • Different modes of interviews: face-to face, online, phone
  • Consent, and ethical conduct of research


10:45 AM – 11 AM    Break


11 AM – 11:30 AM    Interview in Practice

  • The checklist
  • The art of interviewing
  • Reflection on interviews


11:30 AM – 12 PM    Exercise 2: Practice interview and reflection

  • Participants will be divided into groups. One person in each group will be assigned the role of an interviewer and another person the role of an interviewee to conduct a mock interview while other group members will observe the process. After the interview, the group members will reflect on the interview by writing five key learning experiences. A few examples of topics include:

Access to settlement services

Challenges as an international student in Canada

Barriers to get a job as a migrant 

Experiences at the first job

Access to affordable housing in Toronto


12 PM – 12:15 PM    Discussion: Reflection on the exercise


12:15 PM – 12:30 PM    Wrap-up

  • Recap of the workshop
  • Information on additional resources    

About the workshop leader:

Marshia Akbar is Senior Research Associate, CERC Migration, Ryerson University. Marshia’s research addresses how social inequalities and settlement policies shape the labour market integration of migrants in Canada. She has a PhD from York University. Marshia has taught Geography, Sociology and Methods courses at York University and Ryerson University.

Workshop fee:

Regular price $100 (discounted fee for students $20) 

Due to these uncertain times, we are offering these workshops free of charge.