Responsive interviewing is yet another type to add to the vast typology (including: naturalistic, feminist, oral history, in-depth, free, organisational, culture, investigative, epistemic, agonistic, platonic, phenomenological, ethnographic, walk along (go along), informal, long, standardised, convergent, socratic, concept, clarification, open, theory elaboration, exit interview, evaluation, problem centred, walking interview, unstructured via U of Amsterdam .)
I like this explanation.
In ordinary conversations, people mostly focus on the immediate outcome—how was the date, who won the game. Qualitative researchers are more likely to look at events as they unfold over time, looking at chains of causes and consequences and searching for patterns—not just what happened at the last city council meeting but how council members make decisions or how citizens become engaged in public issues. In qualitative interviews, researchers seek
In qualitative interviews, researchers seek more depth but on a narrower range of issues than people do in normal conversations. Researchers plan interview questions in advance, organizing them so they are linked to one another to obtain the information needed to complete a whole picture. Instead of chatting on this and that, a researcher has to encourage the interviewee to answer thoughtfully, openly, and in detail on the topic at hand. If a researcher heard that a community group had held a meeting, he or she would want to know who was there, what was said, and what decisions, if any, were made. He or she would want to know the history of the issues, the controversies, and something about the decision makers—who they were, their concerns, their disagreements. The researcher might want to know about the tone of the meeting, whether anyone got angry and stomped out, or whether people laughed and generally seemed to be having a good time. This depth, detail, and richness is what Clifford Geertz (1973) called thick description . To get such depth and detail, responsive interviewers structure an interview around three types of linked questions: main questions, probes, and follow-up questions. Main questions assure that each of the separate parts of a research question are answered. Probes are standard expressions that encourage interviewees to keep talking on the subject, providing examples and details. Follow-up questions ask interviewees to elaborate on key concepts, themes, ideas, or events that they have mentioned to provide the researcher with more depth. Overall, qualitative interviewing requires intense listening, a respect for and curiosity about people’s experiences and perspectives, and the ability to ask about what is not yet understood. Qualitative interviewers listen to hear the meaning of what interviewees tell them. When they cannot figure out that meaning, they ask follow-up questions to gain clarity and precision.
Qualitative Interviewing – The Art of Hearing Data