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Learning the Craft of Qualitative Research Interviewing

Third Edition

© 2015 | 424 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
The Third Edition of Brinkmann and Kvale’s InterViews: Learning the Craft of Qualitative Research Interviewing, offers readers comprehensive and practical insight into the many factors that contribute to successful interviews. The book invites readers on a journey through the landscape of interview research, providing the “hows” and “whys” of research interviewing, and outlines paths for students to follow on the way to research goals. Thoroughly updated to account for all recent developments in qualitative interviewing, the New Edition expands its focus on the practical, epistemological, and ethical issues involved in interviewing, while maintaining the fluid and logical structure it has become known for throughout the text.
List of Boxes, Figures, and Tables
Preface to the Third Edition
About the Author
1. Introduction to Interview Research
Conversation as Research  
Three Interview Sequences  
Interview Research in History and in the Social Sciences  
The Interview Society  
Methodological and Ethical Issues in Research Interviewing  
Overview of the Book  
Interviewing as a Craft  
Interviewing as a Social Production of Knowledge  
Interviewing as a Social Practice  
Part I: Conceptualizing the Research Interview  
Part II: Seven Stages of Research Interviewing  
Concluding Perspectives  
PART I. Conceptualizing the Research Interview
2. Characterizing Qualitative Research Interviews
A Qualitative Research Interview on Learning  
Phenomenology and the Mode of Understanding in a Qualitative Research Interview  
Power Asymmetry in Qualitative Research Interviews  
Philosophical Dialogues, Therapeutic Conversations, and Research Interviews  
Therapeutic Interviews and Research Interviews  
Qualitative Interviews as Research Instruments and Social Practices  
3. Epistemological Issues of Interviewing
The Interviewer as a Miner or as a Traveler  
Interviews in a Postmodern Age  
Seven Features of Interview Knowledge  
Knowledge and Interviews in a Positivist Conception  
A Rehabilitation of Classical Positivism?  
Methodological Positivism  
Qualitative Interviewing Between Method and Craft  
Research Interviewing: Method or Personal Skills  
The Craft of Research Interviewing  
Learning the Craft of Research Interviewing  
4. Ethical Issues of Interviewing
Interviewing as a Moral Inquiry  
Ethical Issues Throughout an Interview Inquiry  
Ethical Positions: Rules and Procedures or Personal Virtues?  
Ethical Guidelines  
Informed Consent  
The Role of the Researcher  
Learning Ethical Research Behavior  
5. The Qualitative Research Interview as Context
Interviewers and Interviewees  
The Interviewer  
The Interviewee  
Bodies and Nonhumans  
Nonhumans and Surroundings  
PART II. Seven Stages of an Interview Investigation
6. Thematizing and Designing an Interview Study
Seven Stages of an Interview Inquiry  
Thematizing an Interview Study  
Designing an Interview Study  
Mixed Methods  
7. Conducting an Interview
A Class Interview About Grades  
Setting the Interview Stage  
Scripting the Interview  
Interviewer Questions  
The Art of Second Questions  
8. Interview Variations
Interview Subjects  
Interviewing Subjects Across Cultures  
Interviews With Children  
Interviews With Elites  
Interview Forms  
Computer-Assisted Interviews  
Focus Group Interviews  
Factual Interviews  
Conceptual Interviews  
Narrative Interviews  
Discursive Interviews  
Confrontational Interviews  
9. Interview Quality
Hamlet’s Interview  
Interview Quality  
The Interview Subject  
Interviewer Qualifications  
Standard Objections to the Quality of Interview Research  
Leading Questions  
10. Transcribing Interviews
Oral and Written Language  
Recording Interviews  
Transcribing Interviews  
Transcription Reliability, Validity, and Ethics  
11. Preparing for Interview Analysis
The 1,000-Page Question  
A Method of Analyzing the Question?  
Steps and Modes of Interview Analysis  
Computer Tools for Interview Analysis  
12. Interview Analyses Focusing on Meaning
Meaning Condensation  
Meaning Interpretation  
The Issue of Multiple Interpretations  
Hermeneutical Interpretation of Meaning  
The Primacy of the Question in Interpretation  
Analytic Questions Posed to an Interview Text  
The Quest for the “Real Meaning”  
13. Interview Analyses Focusing on Language
Linguistic Analysis  
Conversation Analysis  
Narrative Analysis  
Discourse Analysis  
14. Eclectic and Theoretical Analyses of Interviews
Interview Analysis as Bricolage  
Interview Analysis as Theoretical Reading  
15. The Social Construction of Validity
Objectivity of Interview Knowledge  
Reliability and Validity of Interview Knowledge  
Validity as Quality of Craftsmanship  
Communicative Validity  
Pragmatic Validity  
Generalizing From Interview Studies  
16. Reporting Interview Knowledge
Contrasting Audiences for Interview Reports  
Boring Interview Reports  
Ethics of Reporting  
Investigating With the Final Report in Mind  
Standard Reports and Ways of Enhancing Them  
Enriching Interview Reports  
Journalistic Interviews  
Therapeutic Case Histories  
Publishing Qualitative Research  
17. Conversations about Interviews
Critiques of the Quality of Interview Knowledge  
Developing the Craft of Research Interviewing  
An Epistemology of Interview Knowledge  
The Object Determines the Method  
The Social Science Dogma of Quantification  
Research Interviewing as Social Practice  
Research Interviewing in a Social Context  
Interview Ethics in a Social Context  
Appendix: Learning Tasks

Excellent comprehensive text

Mr Lisa Weems
Educational Admin Dept, Miami University-Oxford
July 2, 2015

In is too advanced for my students (Second year Bachelors who have to learn basics about qualitative research). I have used it in my teachings, but to adopt it would be too much for my students.

Dr Masja Van Meeteren
Department of Criminology, Leiden University
June 16, 2015

A must read for anyone undertaking research and using interviews. One of my favourite books!

Dr Bridget Ng'andu
Social Work Department, Ruskin College Oxford
June 13, 2015

I am still reviewing, and anticipate including it as a resource text for my Qualitative Research Design course.

Dr Jeton McClinton
Ed Foundations Leadership Dept, Jackson State University
June 4, 2015

useful for qualitative methods

Mr Melanie Rogers
School Of Human Health Sciences, Huddersfield University
June 3, 2015

A great approach to qualitative research, with a sound combination of methodological and theoretical knowledge alongside a vast use of examples. Highly recommended.

Dr Artur Ventura
GAGQ, University of Lisbon
March 30, 2015

I used the previous edition and really liked that book.

Dr Louise Racine
Nursing, University Of Saskatchewan
March 22, 2015

The cost of the text does not warrant the specialised nature of the text for a general module in Research Methodology. The text is, however, added to the reading list for students.

Professor Gerrit Van der Waldt
Public Management & Governance, Univesity of North-West
February 18, 2015

I have to admit that I did not read the first two editions so can not comment on any additions/improvements to this book. However, what I can comment on is this third edition as a reference book for preparing, designing and conducting interviews. And what you get with this book is a very comprehensive insight into the topic area. It is very well written and clear. Every aspect of the interview is covered and I personally found it an excellent reference book when designing interviews for my studies. Svend Brinkmann and Steinar Kvale have produced an excellent resource here. A must buy!

Mr Shane Payne
Engineering, Leicester College
January 31, 2015

Excellent book which will aid students carrying out research.

Mrs Suzanne Everett
Nursing and Midwifery, Middlesex University
January 6, 2015
Key features


  • Updated with a new chapter that covers the context of qualitative research interviewing
  • New For and Against boxes throughout to highlight the dilemmas and choices that enable readers to make informed choices about theoretical and practical issues
  • New conceptual toolboxes to facilitate learning the craft of interviewing
  • Expanded to incorporate more excellent interview studies throughout
  • Revised to offer an increased focus on the positions of interviewer and interviewee, and how each influences the very process of interviewing
  • Updated with the most recent information to provide an overview of the rapidly expanding field of qualitative interviewing
  • Expanded to cover both empathetic and confrontational interviews


  • Pedagogical devices such as text boxes, practice activities, and a glossary to support student learning
  • Thoughtful and comprehensive discussions of ethics, interviewing across contexts, and analyzing interview data
  • Coverage of ethical considerations in qualitative research, including the key concepts of designing and implementing ethical research designs, as well as the practicalities of navigating IRBs
  • Key aspects of interviewing, including conceptualizing and designing an interview inquiry, the interview situation, different forms of interviewing, and validating and reporting interview studies to prepare readers for using interviewing to meet their research goals.
  • Interview transcripts to help readers integrate the practical application of conducting an interview with coding and analysis of the data
  • Provides in-depth coverage of the qualitative research interview as a context for knowledge production
  • A variety of interview forms and ways of analyzing interview talk addressed
  • Phenomenological analyses of participants' reports, as well as interpretations of interview talk as “accounts occasioned by the situation”

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

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ISBN: 9781452275727