PAR-projects always consist of semi- or unstructured interviews. Through this ‘loose’ interview structure and improvisation of the interviewer during the interview, respondents get full opportunity to talk about what they feel is important to them. This is how we can unravel, together with the respondent, cause-effect relations and respondents’ deeper underlying values. These are crucial in Participatory Action Research, but also other types of qualitative research.
SEVEN SENSES has over a decade of experience in (PAR-related) interviewing. Our trainers always work with training actors to facilitate role playing, thereby practicing cases which come as close to reality as possible. Training actors can sense verbal and non-verbal communication better than any other and can provide valuable feedback on this. Universities often send us their list of research subjects (also non-PAR research), so we can prepare cases students may encounter in the field.
Roy Kemmers, lecturer in Sociology at Erasmus University College, Rotterdam:
“SEVEN SENSES (Madelon and Jelka) have provided Interview Training sessions for the course I teach on Qualitative Research at Erasmus University College for 3 years now. And each year they prepare our students very well for doing their own interview-based research, and in every session they stun our students with their acting talents designed (but still improvised!) to create / enhance students’ skills. Rather than a one-way instruction, the learning experience they provide is designed as a co-creation, building on the knowledge and insights of the specific people in the room. The students learn hands-on that good interviewing requires preparation, listening, and adjusting to the situation in order to make the interviewee comfortable, and to end up with rich, relevant data. Madelon and Jelka adjust seamlessly to any topic our students come up with, and improvise with both laughs and (acting!) tears to make students think twice before engaging, turning them into responsible, and enthusiastic interviewers.”
In the meantime, check out this blog about how to avoid these 10 interviewing bloopers!