An interview will allow each student to articulate experiences from the course or study program. Conversations like these often provide detailed and nuanced descriptions, which might be less available through other methods. An interview is often useful to further explore issues from a previous evaluation. 

How to use this method

  • Avoid unmanageable quantities of data by limiting the number of interviews. The amount of interviews should be in proportion to the amount of students in your course.

  • Plan in advance who you want to interview. Consider gender, full-time/part-time students who have participated or not participated in class, etc. If interviews are combined with other evaluation methods (i.e. a questionnaire) the interview sample can be based on existing data.

  • Create an interview guide. Before you formulate questions consider carefully what areas you want feedback on, what you will do with the information you collect, and what your expectations are.

  • The interviews should not last for more than an hour. Adjust the number of questions according to the expected length of the interview.

  • Formulate open-ended questions so that students are encouraged to give analytical answers with depth and reasoning. Follow-up questions can be prepared in advance.

  • It is recommended to get a peer to read through your questions and provide feedback before the interviews.

  • Before you begin asking questions, the student must be informed about why he or she is there, what the interview will focus on, and in what context the interviews are done.

  • Be patient during the interviews; give students time to think and elaborate.

  • Consider whether the interview should be audio recorded or if you should take written notes. Be aware that the student must agree to an audio recording of the interview, and that transcription is time-consuming. Taking notes will save you time, but this can disturb the interviewee.  

Case example of interview
Last semester students criticised the course for not covering topics in class that were included in the syllabus.  We have in this semester tried to accommodate this complaint by including lecture seminars to cover more topics.

  • Do you think the seminar options this semester have been good? Have you missed anything?

  • Do you find some seminars or lectures more rewarding than others? (If so, why? Is there anything you haven´t participated in? If so, why not?).

  • How do you assess your own study effort this semester? Can you elaborate on the study methods you use? 
Published 9. October 2015 - 15:35 - Updated 14. January 2016 - 15:32