As I’m planning to do this research mostly with participating field research, I need to know how to perform interviews to track down how other digital nomads business plans are organized and what experiences they’ve had that will help me to form my own business plan. But to successfully get the answers I want from the interviewee’s, priority is to first determine what makes a good interview and how I should prepare for one.
Qualitative vs. Quantitative research methods
Qualitative research methods are more subjective and are generally used to gain more in-depth information on a few cases, focusing on underlying reasons, opinions, and motivations. It makes the results of the qualitative research less statistical, but offer more detail about the studied cases. Qualitative methods include focus groups, in-depth interviews, and reviews of documents. The results are mostly text-based and thus the analysis phase normally takes a bit longer than its’ counterpart. (McLeod, 2017)
Quantitative research methods on the other hand are a lot more objective and offer a broader area of information about a larger number of cases, and focus on facts and statistics. The results of quantitative research provide observed effects of a problem or condition. Quantitative methods are for example surveys, structured interviews, and reviews of records. The results are mostly number-based, and trustworthiness of the results relies more on the used measurement instrument during the research. (McLeod, 2017)
Structured, Semi-Structured, and Unstructured interviews
In an interview you have 3 different types of structures to ask your questions in, differentiating between how open the questions are. Structured interviews give no room for open questions and are solely filled with closed-ended questions, like yes or no questions, or questions with multiple answers in a list. Structured interviews and surveys are mostly used in quantitative researches to gain numerical results that form a statistical hypothesis. Semi-Structured interviews offer both closed-ended and open-ended questions. And finally unstructured interviews contain only open-ended questions. Both Semi-Structured and unstructured interviews are mostly used in qualitative researches. (S Sabe, 2015)
Four Interviewing Principles
According to the four interviewing principles, for an interview to be successfully performed, the interviewer should stick to the following four principles:
1. Prepare carefully, familiarizing yourself with as much background as possible.
2. Establish a relationship with the source conducive to obtaining information.
3. Ask questions that are relevant to the source and that induce the source to talk.
4. Listen and watch attentively.
(Columbia University, n.d.)
Furthermore as the interviewer I should stick to a few ground rules in order to remain respectful and professional throughout the interview. These rules are not set in stone, but it’s generally agreed that reporters and interviewers use these rules to keep their integrity:
1. Identify himself or herself at the outset of the interview.
2. State the purpose of the interview.
3. Make clear to those unaccustomed to being interviewed that the material will be used.
4. Tell the source how much time the interview will take.
5. Keep the interview as short as possible.
6. Ask specific questions that the source is competent to answer.
7. Give the source ample time to reply.
8. Ask the source to clarify complex or vague answers.
9. Read back answers if requested or when in doubt about the phrasing of crucial material.
10. Insist on answers if the public has a right to know them.
11. Avoid lecturing the source, arguing or debating.
12. Abide by requests for non-attribution, background only or off‑the-record should the source make this a condition of the interview or of a statement.
(Columbia University, n.d.)
Preparing the Interview
Based on my founding’s I realized that my research will be qualitative and thus my researching methods will be accordingly so. Methods such as focus groups, in-depth interviews and reviews will yield me the best results. I already determined that I will be interviewing the freelancers to gain information about their business plan. The interviews should be semi-structured and planned carefully before them taking place.
The interview will be written in a semi-structured style and is targeted towards freelancers that work internationally, preferably in the AV field. The goal of the interview is to find out how the business models of the interviewed freelancers look like when they would use the Canvas model. When I collected the data of roughly 3 to 5 interviews I will compare it and write a conclusion to form an answer to my first sub question.
The actual interview and its order of questions can be found in the appendix.