Orientation Observation In-depth interviews Document analysis and semiology Conversation and discourse analysis Secondary Data Surveys Experiments Ethics Research outcomes



Social Research Glossary

About Researching the Real World



© Lee Harvey 2012–2017

Page updated 13 January, 2017

Citation reference: Harvey, L., 2012–2017, Researching the Real World, available at
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A Guide to Methodology

4. In-depth interviews

4.1 Introduction to in-depth interviewing

4.1.1 In-depth interviewing and structured schedule interviewing
4.1.2 In-depth interviewing used with other methods

4.2 Types of in-depth interview
4.3 Methodological approaches to in-depth interviews
4.4 Doing in-depth interviews
4.5 Analysing in-depth interview data
4.6 Summary and conclusion

4.1 Introduction

4.1.2 In-depth interviewing used with other methods

In-depth interviewing is often used alongside other ethnographic approaches, such as participant or non-participant observation, analysis of personal documents and available literature.

For example, in his analysis of the concept of community, Schofield (2002, p. 681) undertook initial and repeat interviews, backed up by non-participant observation as well as analysing 'a range of texts produced by project managers'.

Dick Hobbs (1988) utilised participant observation and in-depth interviewing in his study of petty criminals and the local CID in the East End of London. He undertook formal in-depth interviews with police officers, who agreed to be interviewed in their homes about CID procedures, he observed and chatted to CID officers in pubs and at children's football matches as well as to family and friends in the East End (See CASE STUDY: Petty crime).

Sanders (2005, p. 242), similarly, collected material for his study of ecstacy use 'through my complete-participant role as a security guard or 'bouncer' and in-depth interview material with seven security guards and a bar manager' (see CASE STUDY Dance drugs).

Thomson et al. (2002) used focus groups, questionnaires and diaries along side in-depth interviews and Abraham and Lewis (2002) used documentary sources, which he augmented with in-depth interviews.

In a study of conflict and poverty and the role of education in developing post-conflict resilience Kate Bird (undated) combined quantitative analysis of the Northern Uganda Baseline Survey (NUBS) with in-depth qualitative fieldwork, specifically life history interviews (see Section


Next 4.2 Types of in-depth interview