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This part involves planning, carrying out, considering the analysis of and reflecting on a qualitative research interview. It is assessed through a reflective essay of up to 3000 words. You are asked to carry out ONE qualitative interview with a friend, family member, colleague or other personal acquaintance. Please DO NOT interview patients in a clinical setting, as this might require prior ethics approval. The interview is part of a ‘study’ examining people’s attitudes to, and uses of, different sources of information on healthy and unhealthy foods. Through the interview, you need to get your respondent’s views on different sources of information about how healthy foods are (e.g. the media, educational materials etc.), how they use them, how far they trust them, what effect they have on their behaviour and so on.
You should obtain agreement from the interviewee to participate in the interview, and ensure that they are about the general areas that the interview will cover. Then, you should
• develop the research question(s) within the broad field described above that you would like to address,
• decide on an approach to the interview (e.g. semi-structured, in-depth, narrative etc.) and to analysis (e.g. grounded theory, framework, IPA etc.),
• design a topic guide,
• carry out the interview and make notes (if you have suitable equipment and obtain consent from your interviewee, you may audio-record the interview, but this is not a requirement of this assignment. If you audio-record the interview, you must delete it after you have received your result for this part of the course),
• reflect on the process of planning and carrying out the interview, and
• consider what aspects of the content of the interview you found especially interesting, and how you might take these forward if you were carrying out further interviews and analysing the data
You should then write an essay describing and reflecting on your experiences of preparing for and conducting the interview. In this, you should cover how you went about approaching the interview, what you found challenging, how you adapted your approach, and how you might adapt and improve your approach in future. You should include references to the academic literature on qualitative methods (and a bibliography), and relate your own experience to that recounted by others who have written on doing qualitative research in general and qualitative interviews in particular. Ensure that your essay includes:
• how and why you decided on the approach you took to the interview
• how you designed the topic guide (you may include the guide itself as an appendix if you wish)
• your thoughts on your experience of carrying out the interview itself (covering issues such as what went well, what went badly, how far it corresponded to your expectations, how you adapted, how well you feel that the interview was ‘successful’ in terms of rapport, content, validity, degree to which it addressed the research question/s and so on)
• how you would undertake analysis of the data
• what you would do next time and what you would not do.
Your essay should be no more than 3000 words long (not including bibliography and topic guide if included as an appendix). You should not include direct quotations from the interview in your essay.
Marks will be awarded as follows:
1. Research design (25 marks): Marks will be awarded for evidence that the student has generated a research question or questions that can be addressed through qualitative interviews, and that the approach to the interview, topic guide and proposed approach to analysis are appropriate for answering this question or questions.
2. Reflection on the process (30 marks): Marks will be awarded for evidence that the student has approached the design and execution of the interview in a manner informed by relevant literature on qualitative methods, and has carried out the interview in a reflective manner.
3. Approach to further interviews and analysis (15 marks): Marks will be awarded for evidence that that student has considered how further fieldwork and analysis might be informed by her/his experience of the first interview, and the implications of this for the rigour and quality of the project.
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