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Learning the Craft of Qualitative Research Interviewing

Third Edition

April 2014 | 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

“I greatly value [this book] because [it] articulates the philosophical and methodological approach to validity in qualitative interview research like no other text . . . We consider it our qualitative interview method bible.”

Jean Richey, University of Alaska Fairbanks

“The text is well organized and I am always amazed that Kvale and Brinkmann do have an answer to anything that has to do with interviewing.”

Astrid Eich-Krohm, Southern CT State University

“Kvale and Brinkman’s text is well organized, clearly written, and introduces readers to the world of qualitative interview research. The authors guide readers thinking conceptually as well as practically to design and implement interview studies with clearly articulated concepts and discussions . . . The book has good, in-depth coverage with the kind of theoretical grounding we emphasize in our qualitative research program.”

Kathleen deMarrais, University of Georgia

“The text is well written and the guidelines provided are easy to use. This book is of immense value to researchers and academics, as well as to students. [It] provides practical insight into the interview process [and] provides rich information on the planning, executing and analysis of interviews.”

Dr. Asma Rauf, Essex Business School, University of Essex, Essex, UK

“The text is beautifully organized.  The third edition builds upon the strengths of the first two, in which the authors balance the apparent paradox between learning interviewing as a “craft” . . . and learning from a textbook . . . There are no comparable books to this one! In the preface Brinkman writes, ‘I hope to have struck a balance between a respect for well proven practices of the craft of interviewing on the one hand and innovations, and provocations even, on the other.’  He has.” 

Jon Wergin, Antioch University

“This text provides a deep dive on qualitative interviewing, missing from many works on qualitative research. [It] is useful in that it situates interviews paradigmatically while also providing an historical treatment of interviews across disciplines. The text is well organized and approachable for novices and experts seeking richer understandings of interviewing.”

Jeannine Dingus-Eason, St. John Fisher College

Very useful if the intended approach is aimed toward the life-history/biographical style. Unfortunately this does not align with the interview style being used in the courses that I am currently instructing.

Mr Lukas Kane Skulmoski
Vocational Education , Okanagan College-Kelowna
November 16, 2015

Excellent text for instruction in interviewing for qualitative research.

Dr Norma Hedin
School of Leadership, Dallas Baptist University
March 30, 2016

Useful text for already existing applied projects.

Ms Libby Smith
Psychology Dept, University Of Wisconsin-Stout
October 19, 2015

Key book on interviews and interview analysis, accessible and precise, both for entry-level and advanced students

Dr Michalis Kontopodis
School of Education, Roehampton University
January 18, 2016
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

For instructors

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ISBN: 9781452275727