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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

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

For instructors

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ISBN: 9781452275727