On the main developments in the methodology of interviewing

Veselkova N.V.

Сand. Sci.(Soc.), Assoc. Prof., Institute of Social and Political Sciences, Ural Federal University, Ekaterinburg, Russia vesselkova@yandex.ru

Vandyshev M.N.

Сand. Sci.(Soc.), Assoc. Prof., Ural Federal University, Institute of Social and Political Sciences, Ekaterinburg, Russia m.n.vandyshev@urfu.ru

Pryamikova E.V.

Dr. Sci. (Soc.), Head of the Department of Sociology and Politology, Ural State Pedagogical University, Ekaterinburg, Russia Pryamikova@yandex.ru

ID of the Article: 6724

For citation:

Veselkova N.V., Vandyshev M.N., Pryamikova E.V. On the main developments in the methodology of interviewing. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. 2017. No 6. P. 44-56


The interview is recognized as the basic research tool for the social sciences. The article reviews the key developments of the method, mostly in qualitative tradition, in the past two decades. Based on the iconic publications and their own research practice, the authors identify three main vectors: 1) techniques, 2) power relations, and 3) interaction format. The techniques are analyzed in terms of questioning, stimulus material, graphic and the other sorts of elicitation (self-portrait, relationship map, timeline, calendar, stories of life, memory books). The distribution of power between the researcher and the people under research includes the aspects of initiative, control and planning/spontaneity. The interview formats with fast growing popularity are both online and mobile ones. Special emphasis has been given to the latter. An original typology of the guided tour interviews is proposed, depending on the dominant control center (whose a route) and produced practices (which a route): an informant’s route, a typical rout, a showing route, and a researcher’s route. With respect to the suggesting typology the authors’ version of the go-along interview is described. The article concludes with the discussion of the interrelations of the selected dimensions as well as some paradoxes and problem areas of these intersections.

Interview; Skype-interview; mobile methods; go-along; guided tour; interview rout


Anderson J. (2004). Talking whilst walking: a geographical archaeology of knowledge // Area. 36(3): 254–261.

Atkinson P., Silverman D. (1997). Kundera’s Immortality: The Interview Society and the Invention of the Self. Qualitative Inquiry. 3(3): 304–325.

Bagnoli A. (2009) Beyond the standard interview: The use of graphic elicitation and arts-based methods. Qualitative research. 9(5): 547–570.

Bartlett R. (2012). Modifying the Diary Interview Method to Research the Lives of People With Dementia. Qualitative Health Research. 22 (12): 1717–1726.

Barton K. C. (2015) Elicitation Techniques: Getting People to Talk About Ideas They Don’t Usually Talk About. Theory & Research in Social Education. 43(2): 179–205.

Bell E., Leonard P. (2016) Digital Organizational Storytelling on YouTube: Constructing Plausibility Through Network Protocols of Amateurism, Affinity, and Authenticity. Journal of Management Inquiry. Doi: 1056492616660765.

Bell S. L., Phoenix C., Lovel, R., Wheeler B. W. (2015) Using GPS and geo‐narratives: a methodological approach for understanding and situating everyday green space encounters. Area. 47(1): 88–96.

Bellar W. (2017) Private practice: Using digital diaries and interviews to understand evangelical Christians’ choice and use of religious mobile applications. New Media & Society. 19(1): 111–125.

Bendiner-Viani G. (2005) Walking, Emotion, and Dwelling: Guided Tours in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn. Space and Culture. No.8(4): 459–471.

Benney M., Hughes E. С. (1970) Of sociology and the interview. Sociological Methods: A sourcebook / Ed. by N. K. Denzin. Chicago: Aldine Publishing Company.

Benney M., Hughes E. С. (2003) Of sociology and the interview. Interviewing Four-Volume Set / Ed. by N. G. Fielding. Vol. 1.

Benny M., Hughes E. C. (1956) Of Sociology and the Interview: Editorial Preface. American Journal of Sociology. 62(2): 137–142.

Brinkmann S. (2013) Qualitative Interviewing. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Brinkmann S. (2014) Unstructured and Semi-Structured Interviewing. The Oxford Handbook of Qualitative Research / Ed. by P. Leavy. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Büscher M., Urry J. (2009) Mobile Methods and the Empirical. European Journal of Social Theory. 12(1): 99–116.

Büscher M., Urry J., Witchger K. (eds). (2011) Mobile Methods, New York: Routledge.

Campbell K., Smith C. M., Tuilty S., Cameron C., Treharne G. J. (2016) How Does Dog-Walking Influence Perceptions of Health and Wellbeing in Healthy Adults? A Qualitative Dog-Walk-Along Study. Anthrozoös. No. 29 (2): 181–192.

Carpiano R. M. (2009) Come take a walk with me: the “go-along” interview as a novel method for studying the implications of place for health and well-being. Health & Place. No.15(1): 263–272.

Chrisinger B. (2016) A Mixed-Method Assessment of a New Supermarket in a Food Desert: Contributions to Everyday Life and Health. Journal of Urban Health: Bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine. 93(3): 425–437.

Deakin H., Wakefield K. (2014) Skype interviewing: Reflections of two PhD researchers. Qualitative Research. 4(5): 603–616.

Denzin N. (2001) The Reflexive Interview and a Performative Social Science. Qualitative Research. 1(1): 23–46.

Edwards R., Holland J. (2013) What is qualitative interviewing? London etc.: Bloomsbury Academic.

Evans J., Jones Ph. (2011) The walking interview: Methodology, mobility and place. Applied Geography. 1(2): 849–858.

Fielding N. G. (ed.) (2009) Interviewing II (four volume set). Thousand Oaks, CA: London and New Delhi: Sage.

Fink J. (2012) Walking the neighborhood, seeing the small details of community life: Reflections from a photography walking tour. Critical Social Policy. 32(1): 31–50.

Garcia C. M., Eisenberg M. E., Frerich E. A., Lechner K. E., Lust K. (2012) Conducting go-along interviews to understand context and promote health. Qualitative Health Research. 22(10): 1395–1403.

Ghekiere A., Van Cauwenberg J., de Geus B., Clarys P., Cardon G., Salmon J. et al. (2014) Critical Environmental Factors for Transportation Cycling in Children: A Qualitative Study Using Bike-Along Interviews. PLoS ONE. 9(9): e106696. URL: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4175075/ (accessed 1.11.2016).

Gibson B. E., Mistry B., Smith B., Karen K., Yoshida K. K., Abbott D., Lindsay S., Hamdani Y. (2013) The Integrated Use of Audio Diaries, Photography, and Interviews in Research with Disabled Young Men. International Journal of Qualitative Methods. 12: 382–402.

Glazkov K., Strelnikova, A. (2015) Mobile Methods: Movement as a Part of Research Strategy. Inter. No. 10: 79–90. (In Russ.)

Hanna P. (2012) Using Internet technologies (such as Skype) as a research medium: a research note. Qualitative Research. 12(2): 239–242.

Harris D. A., Parisi D. (2007) Adapting life history calendars for qualitative research on welfare transitions. Field Methods. 19(1): 40–58.

Holton M., Riley M. (2014) Talking on the move: place-based interviewing with undergraduate students. Area. 46(1): 59–65.

Jones H., Chatterjee K., Gray S. (2014) A biographical approach to studying individual change and continuity in walking and cycling over the life course. Journal of Transport & Health. 1(3): 182–189.

Kolozaridi P. (2014) Video Interview by Means of Online Applications: A Methodological Experience. Sotsiologiya: metodologiya, metody, matematicheskoye modelirovaniye [Sociology: methodology, methods, mathematical modeling]. No. 38: 96–127. (In Russ.)

Kolozaridi P. (2016) The Problem of the Qualitative Interview Method: Skype, Web-Based, Face-to-Face. In: Sashkin A. V., Deviatko I. F., Davydov S. G. (eds) Onlayn-issledovaniya v Rossii: tendentsii i perspektivy [Online Researh in Russia: Trends and Prospects]. Moscow: Online Market Intelligence: 417–430. (In Russ.)

Kusenbach M. (2003) Street Phenomenology: The go-along as ethnographic research tool. Ethnography. 4(3): 455–485.

Kvale S. (1996) InterViews – An introduction to qualitative research interviewing. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Kvale S. (2003) InterViews – An introduction to qualitative research interviewing. Moscow: Smysl. (In Russ.)

Kvale S. (2006) Dominance Through Interviews and Dialogues. Qualitative Inquiry. 12 (3): 480–500.

Kvale S., Brinkmann S. (2009) InterViews: Learning the Craft of Qualitative Research Interviewing. 2 ed., Los Angeles, London, New Delhi & Singapore: Sage Publications.

Kvale S., Brinkmann S. (2015) InterViews: Learning the Craft of Qualitative Research Interviewing. 3 ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Kwan M.-P., Ding G. (2008) Geo-Narrative: Extending geographic information systems for narrative analysis in qualitative and mixed-method research. The Professional Geographer. 60(4): 443–465.

Latham A. (2003) Research, performance, and doing human geography: some reflections on the diary-photograph, diary-interview method. Environment and Planning A. 35(11): 1993–2017.

Lo Iacono V., Symonds P., Brown D. H.K. (2016) Skype as a Tool for Qualitative Research Interviews. Sociological Research Online. 21 (2), 12.

Mann S. (2016) The Research Interview: Reflective Practice and Reflexivity in Research. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire; New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Meerwald A. M.L. (2013) Researcher / Researched: repositioning research paradigms. Higher Education Research & Development. 32(1): 43–55.

Merriman P. (2011) Rethinking mobile methods. Mobilities. 9(2): 167–187.

Merton R. K., Fiske M., Kendall P. L. (1990 [1956]). The Focused Interview: A Manual of Problems and Procedures. New York: Free Press/ Macmillan.

Miaux S., Drouin L., Morency P., Paquin S., Gauvin L., Jacquemin C. (2010) Making the narrative walk-in-real-time methodology relevant for public health intervention: Towards an integrative approach. Health & place. 16(6): 1166–1173.

Murray L. (2009) Looking at and looking back: visualization in mobile research. Qualitative Research. 9(4): 469–488.

Nelson I. A. (2010) From Quantitative to Qualitative: Adapting the Life History Calendar Method. Field Methods. 22(4): 413–428.

Orlova G. A. (2016) Co-authorization, not co-authorship: The adventures of transcript in the digital age. Shagi [Steps]. Vol. 2. No. 1: 200–223. (In Russ.)

Reed A. (2002) City of details: interpreting the personality of London. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute. 8(1): 127–141.

Roer-Strier D., Sands R. G. (2015) Moving beyond the ‘official story’: when ‘others’ meet in a qualitative interview. Qualita Research. 15 (2): 251–268.

Saralieva Z. H., ed. (1996) Sotsial’naya rabota kak professiya [Social work as a profession]. Nizhny Novgorod: Nizhegor. State Univ. (In Russ.)

Schorn A. (2000) The “Theme-centered Interview”. A Method to Decode Manifest and Latent Aspects of Subjective Realities. Forum: Qualitative Social Research. 1(2).

Schütze F. (2001 [1983]). Biographieforschung und narratives Interview. In: Bezrogov B., Kosheleva O., Meshcherkina Ye., Nurkova V. Pedagogicheskaya antropologiya: fenomen detstva v vospominaniyakh. [Pedagogical anthropology: the phenomenon of childhood in memories]. Moscow: Izd-vo URAO: 142–147. (In Russ.)

Seitz S. (2016) Pixilated partnerships, overcoming obstacles in qualitative interviews via Skype: a research note. Qualitative Research. 16(2): 229–235.

Shapka J. D., Domene J. F., Khan Sh., Yang L. M. (2016) Online versus in-person interviews with adolescents: An exploration of data equivalence. Computers in Human Behavior. 58: 361–367.

Sheller M. (2014) The new mobilities paradigm for a live sociology. Current Sociology. 62(6): 789–811.

Siles I. (2012) Web Technologies of the Self: The Arising of the ‘‘Blogger’’ Identity. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication. 17(4): 408–421.

Spowart L., Nairn K. (2014) (Re)performing emotions in diary-interviews. Qualitative Research. 14(3): 327–340.

Spradley J. P. (1979) The Ethnographic Interview. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.

Strelnikova A. (2012) Metod biograficheskoy progulki: interv’yu v prostranstvennom izmerenii [Method of biographical walks: an interview in the spatial dimension]. In: A. B. Gofman, G. V. Gradoselskaya, I. F. Deviatko et al. (eds) Sovremennayasotsiologiya – sovremennoy Rossii. [Contemporary Sociology for Contemporary Russia] Moscow: Izd. dom VSHEH: 665–672 (In Russ.)

Thomson R., Holland J. (2005) ‘Thanks for the memory’: Memory books as a methodological resource in biographical research. Qualitative Research. 5(2): 201–291.

Thomson R., Holland J. (2012) Memory Books as a methodological resource in biographical research. Handbook of Qualitative Research in Education / Edited by S. Delamont. London: Edward Elgar Publishing.

Urry J. (2012) Sociology beyond Societies: mobilities for twenty-first century. Moscow: Izd. dom VSHEH. (In Russ.)

Veselkova N. V., Pryamikova E. V., Vandyshev M. N. (2016) Mesta pamyati v molodykh gorodakh. [Sites of Memory in Young Towns]. Ekaterinburg: Izd-vo Ural. un-ta. (In Russ.) tive Research. 15 (2): 251–268.

Warren S. (2016) Pluralising the walking interview: researching (im) mobilities with Muslim women. Social & Cultural Geography. Doi: 10.1080/14649365.2016.1228113.

Weinmann T., Thomas S., Brilmayer S., Heinrich S., Radon K. (2012) Testing Skype as an interview method in epidemiologic research: response and feasibility. International Journal of Public Health. 57(6): 959–961.

Zimmerman D. H., Wieder D. L. (1977) The diary-interview method. Urban Life. 5(4): 479–498.

Content No 6, 2017